I turn into the Chickamauga Battlefield off Battlefield Parkway. There's a smear of purple and orange clouds against patches of blue as I drive down the main road of the Civil War site past fields of concrete monuments and sea-foam green cannons scattering the park.
I pull my gold Saturn over by the Brotherton Cabin, sitting on a knoll next to the road and enclosed by a split rail fence caked with dried moss. Two pin oak trees shade the cabin’s shake-shingle roof, the shadow of branches flickering against logs pasted together by red clay. The breeze churns the tranquil air before settling into the grass, trees, ravines, and streams.
I amble up the twenty-foot long pathway packed with mulch to the 400-square-foot cabin. Peering past the bars guarding the open door, I see one stone fireplace on the right wall with a spin roast. One wooden chair in the far left corner collects dust as spiderwebs stretch across its back. A rickety ladder reaches for the upstairs loft. The floors are covered by a film of dust and the ceiling is infested with seven vacant hornets’ nests. I smell must as my arms tighten with goosebumps, the damp air seeping between the cold bars. Dried straw pricks my toes.
I imagine where I stand being clouded with smoke, the air filled with cannon fire and the sweet smell of hay agitated by gunpowder.
A heavy breeze rushes through the pin oaks, snapping off browning and yellowing leaves.
A gust of wind forces against my body, and I'm cooled by the fading sun. I head back to my Saturn and drive down the rest of the main road.
Back in the 21st-century, I head towards home.