If there's anything wrong with me, a photo safari with Shila will usually help. We flash on the same things, dig the same things, notice the same things--and appreciate the heck out of everything we notice. Photography is a way of putting that appreciation into action, of saving the things we love.
Decrepitude, collapsing barns, the whaleribs of their siding jutting and folding in on themselves. Sun coming through it, rusted tin, holes, wholes, details, details.
The Tin Man, cracking a private joke
Red maple, tin roof
The back side, toward the woods. It's not a building any more; it's a ruin, an elegaic husk, a monument.
It's the perfect barn on the perfect afternoon, more shadow and space than light and wood.
And the leaves and their shadows ran together.
At last we reached the parking area for the North Country Trail and set off down through the woods toward the cave and cliff.
There: the cliff he'd fallen from.
There: the last place I saw him before he disappeared. Perhaps the worst of all, for the memory of his scrabbling paws, his suddenly frantic eyes pierces me.
There: the vine-draped lip from which Chet tumbled, the leaves and logs that broke his fall, now cast in slanting afternoon sun.
He on a leash, in my arms, safe, both of us here with Shila's healing presence, and her amazement that he suffered no harm.
Going back to a place that holds such awesome power is the only thing to do, I think. Going back to face it again and face it down.
The trees, impassive, arch overhead and I hold Chet close, kiss him, let him off the lead and then let him go on ahead, straight away from the cliff's lip, from the dark cave, from the horror.
If he is thinking of last Sunday, he doesn't betray it. He is in the moment, something the Angel Beast has such trouble being. And he is no longer a ghost, but just my dog, hoping for squirrels in these beautiful woods. And that is just a slippery cliff to be respected and avoided, and I am all right with it all. I won't need to come back again.