The autumn leaves are beginning to flutter down and swirl around in the October breeze. The yard will soon wear its leafy carpet of yellows, browns and reds - content until someone comes along with a rake to disturb the scene. The oak trees have already rained down their crop of acorns this year; some say, predicting an especially cold winter.

       Behind the house, the backyard slopes down and abruptly meets the line of trees that signal the rest of our property - the Allen Woods. After the leaves fall, one will almost be able to see where the marshes of Beaverdam Creek begin. Over 100 years ago, several bloody battles of a cruel civil war were fought in this area. Not long ago, one could still find old bullets, buckles and other artifacts from that era. Legend has it that there may still be soldiers' bones moldering under the soil on the banks of...


       We've left the woods in its primeval state these many years, though at one time I had grandiose dreams of clearing out the underbrush to give it a more parklike appearance. Clearer heads prevailed who reminded me of the immense amount of work this would involve. And so the brush, brambles and fallen trees remained.

       The children, now grown, developed a system of pathways throughout our woods and on the neighboring abandoned property during their childhood years. Even today, specific landmarks remain immortalized in family lore because of the clever names given to them by the Allen brothers so many years ago. Sites like "The Restored Stump" - "Lovers' Lookout" - "Dead Man's Cliff" - "The Step Hill" - "The Climbing Tree" and "The Spook House" are known far and wide among those of our children's generation.

       And so today as I look down the hill, autumn breezes stir the memory of days gone by.

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