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Friday, November 14, 2008


This old photograph from the Oak Hill Cottage archives showed such an amazing-looking (to me...not a gardener) lily-type flower that I sent it along to Chuck Gleaves (Kingwood Center Director...his blog is Lifestyle Garden )to identify. He said it is fritillaria or Crown Imperial. Blooms early in the spring. I did some further searching and found it smells like skunk, especially the blooms when disturbed or handled, so made me wonder why these two lovebirds seem so oblivious to its scent.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

ghosts at oak hill

I administer the Oak Hill website so I get all the email inquiries; most are requests to spend the night in the cottage hunting for ghosts. I'm not much of a believer, if at all, in the spirit world, and maybe that's why I'm a preservationist, bookman, and sometimes historian. Our connections to the past exist through tangible things. If these tangible things trigger spiritual experiences, so much the better...maybe a feeling of history is a spiritual experience.
Anyway, I've been researching the historical landscape of Oak Hill through old photographs, and I've been finding some that I think of as the real ghosts of Oak Hill. I've found them tucked here and there in boxes. Generally these are photos that were so dirty and faded from years in an attic or basement that the original researchers disregarded them amongst the wealth of better preserved material. But many are gems. These three turned up yesterday.

ghosts around mansfield

Mansfielder's know that this is a crow town. Like some other special towns and cities around the country, Mansfield hosts large flocks of crows about this time of year and into the winter. It seems each fallen leaf is replaced with a crow some mornings where the flock (flocks?) congregate. In the last 20 years or so I've experienced this out Park Avenue West in the 300 block, downtown on the Square, and now living at Oak Hill.
Some say crows are the ghosts of dead Indians. That's a little too weird for me, but I can't help but wonder how ancient these roosting areas are...or sense they are strong connections to the past.
Here's video of the crows this morning and another taken in 2006 downtown on the Square.