We have left There and I am driving back in the late afternoon.  I have driven the parkway and exited near the Mariner’s Museum.  I am past the little trees, the hamlet that nearly burned down, and thankfully most of the traffic has turned off at the first traffic light in 20 miles.   The Pine Barrens stretch in front and behind me without a car in sight.  The forest is dense with nothing but pine trees and an occasional invading oak.  The sun is just low enough to be a bit of a nuisance, with a strobe light effect as I pass the trees  but it’s still not the “golden hour” before sunset, so the light is good and I am taking the Fe through at about 65 mph.   I have passed civilization and even the occasional house, but now there is nothing but forest.   Then, there is a straight bit of road maybe a two-mile stretch and something catches my eye:  a hint to a secret.  A solitary mail box, shiny and proud, sits on top of its post on the side of the road.  I take  my foot off the gas to slow down just a little.  I can see the winding dirt road and I know there is a house at the end of it, but I can’t see it.  It is deep in the woods.  Maybe a lovely log cabin in the woods.  Maybe a family’s home with toys in the front yard, a shed for the lawn mower, a garden of herbs.  Maybe it is just a development house left over from the last big build in the area and someone put three bedrooms and one and half baths out here because they did not like the development.  What kind of house could it be?  Who lives there?  Are there flowers?  Children?  Is it a home or just a house?   The curving dirt road hides all this from me and I know the pines will never tell.  Even in the winter,  the pine forest will be green and secretive.   Now I will look for the mail box every trip.

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