Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Even on a good day, her strength is enough my back is strained holding on. But today - today, she's been good. And the light has leached out of the sky silently, soft and easy, colorless moment left behind. Twilight is truly over, but either night is paused delicately or I can't believe it's here, and the trees still reach up, and out, and are the only shapes that matter.

Other than the yellow girl, the smudge of muscle and light just ahead. Tugging, but gently.

Tonight wasn't a night I talked with her a lot. Just taking in our neighborhood, our route, our walk, our evening exercise.

The tap of her toenails on the pavement. It really isn't honestly dark out; headlights and black silhouettes notwithstanding. Muzzy, garish red light of the signal up ahead; too much, but beacon of home.

Early in our circuit, on the way down the hill, the breezes were dying as we descended below them a little, and the sun had left enough behind I saw the message on the asphalt THE END IS NEAR. Not a trashy grafito, and amusingly accurate as to its own longevity; some kid had sprayed it right on the road. Funnier than threatening, I arc my body to read it as we go. And then we just go.

Signal growing closer, and the house is rising, dark against the light of busier places to the north, and there is my maple. It reaches up - maples never shrug, never sag and reach down or bow to the ground. They twist a bit, in my neighborhood; a local peculiarity, the slightest screw-turn in their trunks. Why they grow that way around here - never have understood. I may be the only person left in this state who even knows it, and therefore makes a point of seeing it.

My big branches - this beauty, and the kitchen, they sold this house. Fifteen years in a few months. Hard to believe. And more than half the mortgage, thanks to the magic of refi. The maple really is mine now, in some file cabinet - or file drive - somewhere those things matter.

The new neighbors have put out candy-colored playthings for the kids in the yard. It's beautiful. That holly is gone, away from the front porch, now naked and open. The St. Patrick's flag in the nighttime breeze.

And home. Tugging home.

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