Silverhill Road

Don't let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief shining moment that was known
As Camelot.

My brief shining place was a stone cabin in Michigan located in the middle of a 20,000 acre state wilderness park off Silverhill Road. If you go there now a three mile section of that road has been returned to wilderness, grown over and grown in. The cabin is gone, torn down my the state just after I abandoned Michigan for California in 1975. But for two years, it was my Camelot.

Back in 1973 a good friend was living there, he was a park ranger. The plans to level the old cabin were in the works but until then someone got to live in the near idyllic setting. My friend was transferred and I got the cabin until the state brought in the bulldozer. 

The old stone structure hugged a central stone fireplace that ran up through the second floor bedrooms. Across the narrow dirt road and far down the hill was the Crooked Lake campground. We were sheltered from even minimal intrusion of civilization by a huge hedge of violet lilacs, the smell in early summer was nearly overpowering as I lay in the front bedroom.

There was a small garden less successful than the wild asparagus patch nearby. We inherited a sheltie collie named Heather and my roommate brought his shepherd, Bo. I soon had Sam, Heather and Gisele who produced 9 kittens the second spring. Sam was the feline who trained me to pet him during the night. 

When the trees were fully leafed out in the summer, the final two miles to the cabin were inside of a green tunnel with the trees on either side providing a complete canopy to Silverhill Road. In the fall the tunnel would darken and then burst into yellows, reds and silvers. There was a fairy circle of mushrooms in the meadow and a stand of lonely birch trees in the high pasture.

We had several big summer parties but the real highlights were the quiet nights in the spring, summer, fall and yes even Michigan winter. All the lights would be extinguished and the stars would burn brightly down on the small rise behind the cabin. I remember that rise for another reason but that is a story for another time.