The Fort in the woods, happened one Sunday afternoon when I was invited to a friend’s house that I had met a church. Kim Snowden and I were truly best of friends. He had my grandmother’s collie dog which she gave him when she became too old to take care of it. We looked up to each other as we explored the streams and woods of his grandparent’s wooded farm. We had so much fun as young kids do; adventure was the order of the day.
Then we had the bright idea to visit his aunt’s house and scrounge for some rough sawn oak lumber in the barn to build a fort. We couldn’t build it fast enough as we cut the boards with a hand saw and pounded nails as fast as we could sling the hammer. I recall taking a good slice out of the side of my hand as the saw ripped off the flesh. I was so pumped that I didn’t care and didn’t want to quit until it was time to go. I just let it bleed until the blood dried up and then it stopped. It felt good to continue right up until it was the moment to leave and get ready for evening church service. Years later I saw the fort was still there as I drove by and craned my neck to get a quick glance of that one long ago Sunday afternoon.
The Attic Fort, was located on Jefferson St. in our large two story 5 bed room home. The attic had steps were steep and took you straight up into a dim lit open attic that had two light bulbs that hung from an old cloth wrapped cord at each end of the space.
In the summer months it was so hot up there that no one could dare to tolerate, however in the dead of the winter you froze with unforgiving bitter cold temperatures. I could actually see the traffic below through the windows at each end and would feel on top of the world while up there rearranging some of the items which were in the attic. One thing was a three foot steel milk crate that I draped a flag over the top. It sortive resembled a military casket. Then I put Plumes from the front yard flower bed on both sides of it and it became my imaginary viewing area with antique Ball canning jars, 1800’s commode pot and lid, old license plates, photo’s and a variety of unique memorabilia.
Later in life, I got to thinking about “forts” and how they apply to life. A fort allows a child to hide, to look out, and to observe the world from a distance while safe inside the walls of you’re imagination. With a fort you can control your own space, where as the minute you step outside you expose yourself to the world and everyone observes you for who you are.
As an adult I’ve created rooms with collections from my travels throughout the world. These rooms are somewhat my modern day hiding places that I share with everyone. I've built forts for my kids and sat with them as they dream of space ships on count downs or pirates on voyages in their own back yard.
In life we have the “railroad spikes” (strategies) which we have pounded into our daily lives to make it to the top of our successes.
We have created the trap doors to gain access to our own worlds of imagination and observation towers, however the floods come and wash it all away and it all caves in around us and becomes a memory good or bad. Then we become inspired to build yet another one only to find out that we put too much into it and our efforts have killed the structure that held it up and it eventually falls over and dies.
In the scripture we find that Adam and Eve decided to hide in the Garden of Eden because they had sinned. But God knew all along where they were and yet it was their way of running from Shame.
Perhaps at Ten years old, I too may have become aware of my own sins. Then I found it natural to find or build hiding places to avoid being exposed.
I Believe that being alone for a season is a good thing for each of us. It’s a time of quietness and solitude which allows one to think and to ponder who we are and what life is all about and it’s a time to reflect and to pray and to come closer to God.
I’m not sure if there will be forts in heaven. But Jesus said “I go to prepare a place for you, so that where I am, there ye may be also”. Jesus is a truly a fortress. He’s is a hiding place in the time of storm even though our outside is cold and exposed. He has a way of allowing us the comforts of inner peace and happiness and a place to hide and to be alone.”
2 Samuel 22:2
And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.
Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.
I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdued my people under me.)