The Doctor’s House

When a good sale came along in November, I remembered how cold it felt during lunch time walks last winter and bought a down parka with fur trimmed hood. I vowed to keep walking at lunch, not every day, but enough that I wouldn’t feel bad about it.

Then I had the parka going on two months and many days were as bitter cold as the parka was cozy warm, but still I hadn’t taken it for a lunch time walk. It wasn’t a conscious decision but more a reluctance to challenge myself because life felt hard enough already. I stand by that break, but maybe I forgot a little how good walking makes me feel. When I was ready, the reminders were there.

First I read a post by Michelle about how changing your scenery changes your perspective. She also mentioned wishing her eyes could take pictures, a thought I’ve had many times. When I go for walks, I often take pictures. The park where I walk is 700 acres with a dozen abandoned structures in varying states of decomposition. A creek cuts through woods and active farmland and there’s even a trout hatchery and bird blind by a secluded pond. It’s hard not to take pictures, and some even turn out.

The other thing that pushed me to get out and finally test the new parka was my husband saying he was planning to walk at lunch on the coldest day of the week like it was no big deal. He made me realize I could do it too.

I am happy to report the parka held up really well. I love any chance to wear the hood because it’s snug and I can slip it on like a wig and pretend to have another hair color for awhile. I like not dyeing my hair anymore and don’t ever want to go back, but sometimes grey feels dreary and pulling a crazy hood on fixes that somehow.


A big fluffy hood can also be disorienting. It muffles sound and blocks peripheral vision. I like to feel on my toes in a park with miles of winding trail where some days you can walk a half hour without seeing anyone. I took the hood off while stopping to take pictures in front of the Doctor’s House.


Out of all the abandoned structures that dot the park, The Doctor’s House feels the creepiest. The first time I set out to find it, I had a map and was so excited and walked right up by the bilco doors to get a closeup of the crumbling stucco. I swore I heard tinny music that was probably not my phone playing music from the muffled recess of my pocket, though the thought is comforting now. I got my pictures and got the hell out and didn’t go back for awhile.


The other day there were lots of walkers out, so I went by again and stopped to take a few pictures, including the one above. Though it was a split second before my mind processed crumbling porch post, I saw her. A girl. I quickly looked back at the house and chuckled to myself and got the hell out of there to visit another creepy, but more lonely, house.


I wanted to write a story about the Doctor’s House since I saw its name on a wooden sign at a crossroads in the park. It seems like the kind of story that would write itself, but so far my ideas aren’t very good.  I know it has its own story and while I haven’t been able to figure out what that is, that’s what keeps me coming back.

Today I went to a different part of the park and caught a squirrel trying to drag a corn husk up a tree. I tried to take a picture but it didn’t turn out and my attention flustered him so much he dropped the corn. Other squirrels chittered and skittered in nearby trees and I felt bad and moved on.

Now that I’ve seen every landmark on the map of the seven hundred acre wood, I can go back and spend more time in between. The camera will always be in my pocket but I won’t always use it. I still remember perfectly well what that squirrel looked like dragging his bright yellow husk up the tree, which would have been like you or I trying to lug an overstuffed armchair up a flight of stairs.

taken in spring, see the yellow wildflowers in the background?

29 thoughts on “The Doctor’s House

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  1. The picture of you in the parka is beautiful. (So are the others, you take great photos) Both you and Michelle are inspiring me to take a winter walk. This wouldn’t be hard as my daughter walks her two big dogs often.
    The tinny music and the sight of a girl at the doctor’s house would have sent me running. Wow, I wonder what the story there is. Any info on that?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I found a little history on other houses in the park, but not that one. The park grounds were part of a nearby mental hospital, so that’s probably where the doctor came from. Hope you are able to get out and enjoy some walks with your daughter. Today would have been a great day here in southeast PA for a walk but I had errands to run.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ross. The park has an interesting history. A nearby mental hospital once used the land for farming/work therapy. The patients lived off the food they grew basically. At one time it had a hog farm, hennery, crops. There’s an old crematorium on the property and I’m not sure what the story is there but that was right up with the doctors house in terms of creepiness.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, the house is terrific. And the hood on the parka must be nice, not just for warmth, but playing with anonymity (that’s why I’d wear it at least). I’ve had scenes that really demanded me to write a story about them (or houses/places) and I don’t think I’ve been successful yet, I’ve had to let them go. Maybe it will come in a different context, or you need to create your own scene that’s more yours. I’m hoping that strategy works for me, at least. I do find a lot of pressure with dramatic places like the Doctor’s house to tell an exquisite tale, to match the scale of the physical place, and that can be too much. But good to get out in the cold, despite. — Bill

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  3. I see the girl too….but in both pictures of the doctors house…in the first one she has wings….

    i also see the squirrel with the corn and i wasn’t even there….how did you do that?

    love this!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. OOOO! I absolutely loved this. I wish I could come visit and go back with you. I know that you’ll be back. I can hear the hum of that story from way over in my neck of the woods (You, Mary, and Christy all have that hum going).

    What an absolutely beautiful capture of your walk, your perspective, and your lens. You have a true gift – I felt like I was there and forgot that I was reading. Thank you for the shout-out….we really, really need to explore something together ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d like to take a peek inside one of these buildings but I’m too cautious and law abiding. There are ‘no trespassing’ signs everywhere. How do you feel about those? If they don’t bother you, you could be a bad influence and I would welcome that, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m a bit squeamish about the No Trespassing signs…unless I’m with someone who doesn’t mind – thus, why I explore with my husband πŸ™‚ That said, I have been chased off too many railroad tracks to count. Maybe I AM a bad influence πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  5. That sounds like such a wonderful place to explore! Places like that are so different explored on a cold winters day than on a warm one, there’s an eerie stillness already in the, don’t you find? I love creepy houses like that, but the hair on my arms stood up a bit just looking at the pics of the dr’s house haha.
    PS – beautiful pic of you in the parka!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a wonderful place to explore and get out for a walk. It’s so barren, the trees are so sparse, but also absolutely beautiful. Love your parker too! It’s a different story here in Australia, not cold at all. But we do have to be wary in Summer with dehydration and keep a close eye out for snakes. Thanks for the good read πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I wish I had a house like that around here. We don’t get many crumbling buildings like that in the big city here. Or at least not like that one. I would encourage you to keep jotting down ideas and thoughts that come to you about this house, for a story. I think you could really carve one out – your writing is fantastic, and you have plenty of inspiration there!

    Great shots!



  8. Once again, wonderful writing here. I love how you start out with the parka, and then ease into the Doctors House. The two words, capitalized, sound so distinguished, and then you display the photo and it is shocking! Wow! I can see how you can only take a little of that scary place at a time. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve been coveting one of those parkas myself AND berating myself for not walking more. I think about getting another dog for that – but it’s not practical now. I miss my guy getting me out multiple times throughout the day in all weather. Self motivated? Not much – especially on this cold days.
    I’m with you on the gray – haven’t dyed in years and years. Although my gray is not as pretty as yours, someone complimented me today and asked if I knew about some FB support group for people going gray. Ha! There are certainly some things I could use support for but going gray isn’t one of them!
    This is a beautiful post and that place you walk is creepily appealing…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pretty sure I belong to that gray head support group, ha. Get yourself a parka, on clearance by now (if not already replaced by bathing suits). I too wish I had a dog for walks and in general…maybe the time will be right again for you soon.


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