I was in countryside today not far from where our family cottage used to be located so I decided to visit the place. I wasn't quite prepared to what I found. It used to be a farm located around two hundred metres from a highway in the middle of the field surrounded by a few oaks and bushes. I remember quite well the main building was clearly seen from the highway as well as a huge half-withered poplar tree in front of it. There was an artificial pond next to the highway, a well in close proximity to the main entrance, a bathhouse behind the building and a barn separated from the rest of the farm by a plot of land where we used to grow potatoes. There were a number of other buildings nearby but we were the only ones who stayed there for entire summer. An old man who lived there almost around the year died about 20 years ago of pneumonia. Another our neighbour used to be a beekeeper and around the same time his creditors ran out of patience and attempted to get their money back using brute force so he had to abruptly escape leaving no traces. The rest neighbours moved to other places and came there only occasionally leaving us no chance of getting in touch. From time to time a shepherd from a neighbour village located within three kilometres from the farm came around and had a brief conversation with us or shared a bottle of vodka with the old neighbour when the latter was still alive.
During the 20 years I was away the place has become completely unrecognizable. It is now overgrown with birch trees and bushes to such extent I was barely able to notice it while driving on the highway. Breaking my way through the bushes I was wandering around with no clue where to look for the place the farm used to be. Luckily I found a path that led me to a clearing where I was able to see the poplar tree. It is still there and miraculously there are new branches with green leaves on it. Next to the tree there is a pit left from the well but on the place the main building used to be there are only bushes left. However on the place of the beekeeper's building I found...a newly-built bee-garden with a beekeeper standing nearby. I had a chat with him where we exchanged our memories of the place for he happened to be a son of our neighbour. He moaned for a lack of food for bees that have little to do in such an overgrown place. I wished him good luck and continued my walk further away from the highway and finally stumbled upon a dilapidated building of the barn. Its roof has collapsed but apart from that it is still standing with most part of the wooden walls intact. I remember I could even see it on satellite images on google maps.
After making a circle around the place I came back to my car and drove off. There was nothing else to do there and inside my head there was a story running rounds that the beekeeper I'd met told me. When I asked about the shepherd that used to visit us he told me the man disappeared a few years ago without a trace. One day he got drunk then walked out of the village never to be seen again. The searching party were unable to find the body. Some say he drowned in a bog while others speculate he was run over on the highway and the body was taken away and secretly buried to avoid prosecution.