The Lonely Sentinel at Old Dorsey Church
“Leave the GPS in the SUV,” I say to my grandson.
We stroll down the old road, abandoned two score years.
Since the floods of Agnes’ wrath broke the asphalt path
Slowly reclaimed by nature.
“Don’t you just love it here, Kiddo? In future years, walk along this path. Think of me, watching from above, enjoying your nature walk.”
“Gramps, where are we going?”
“Walk, not talk.”
Sycamores lit by summer sun in boggy lowland ashore the Patapsco River. The forest reclaimed its land, now thick with leaves from ground to hidden sky.
Half the macadam torn off by nature’s bath. Kiddo’s foot sinks into a rotten trunk sprawled across the old road.
The rounded wood painted green with moss. Yellow mushrooms widening cracks, along with forest stalks and purpled sticky flowers. No parishioner trod down this trail for nearly half a century.
Dragonflies, mosquitoes, and butterflies buzzed us. The gentle roar of today’s placid stream a distant memory of the flood. Unnatural, flat upright surfaces beyond the trees. Kiddo ran up the muddy slope to glimpse the ancient church.
He stopped, before the door. Concrete walls alive with graffiti. I puffed up to stand by Kiddo.
A tree grew out the sunken floor of Old Dorsey Church. Its trunk vaulted through the long-gone ceiling.
Low branches and greenery crowded the hallowed interior.
Kiddo hopped across the eroded gap through the door-less entry.
Above the graffiti walls, in the steeple window darkness
A shadowed darkness loomed amid the dappled sunlight of mid summer
From its elevated perch, a large winged figure dropped down.
The turkey vulture swooped down to Kiddo’s hair.
He jumped back. “Gramps!”
The evil omen pulled up, with a single flap of wide, black wings. It rested its claws on a branch that grew out a window casement.
Beaded eyes sank deep within the gloom of its body.
It watched as Kiddo ran by me to the trail and away.
The Lonely Sentinel at Old Dorsey Church had claimed another victim.