On a rise in the middle of the woods north of Hartford Reservoir No. 6 in Simsbury, Connecticut I recently came upon a fieldstone chimney. Splotched with lichen and leaning Pisa-like, the fireplace had not seen flames in many years. A few leaf-obscured concrete footings nearby marked the outline of a tiny structure. The chimney seemed an epitaph for a small cottage or camp.
Abandoned stone chimneys far from any signs of human habitation are startling in this thickly settled state, but not particularly rare. I find them in deep forest, on high ridgelines and in meadows. Singular and standing alone like the landscape’s own exclamation points, they mark the site of buildings that have long ago disappeared.