Another of the old Dodge. I have no idea how this photo came to be, and that’s probably for the best.
I camped last night at a music festival with my older boy, and waking early with hours to spare before he roused, I drove to a nearby mountain for a short hike. There I trundled upward, clad in barn boots and flannel, until the heat of my exertion saw me shrugging the shirt and now shirtless and silly-looking I walked onward until I came to a minor footpath diverging from the trail. With no conscious decision reached (and, in fact, none sought), there I turned, and soon after found myself in a forest of mature hardwood, sugar maple and ash. The light just coming on, feet clammy and hot in boots. I stood there, not thinking much of anything and not wanting to, until maybe 70 yards below me a black bear lumbered into the clearing of an old skid road. He (she?) sensed me there and turned his head my way and now we both stood, one looking at the other, until I realized some time had passed. A minute? Two? I cannot say, but we held in the morning softness and the pattering of raindrops shaking themselves loose from the foliage, falling cool against the skin of my back. Then he turned his head and ambled on, and I guess I’m not ashamed to say I felt tears welling. Not of sadness, or even joy, but of something that felt as if perhaps it lay deeper, though I can’t say what that would be. Maybe just the unsettling knowledge of how little we can predict, of how little control we have, of how even the most innocuous circumstances and choices – to wake early, to decide on a hike, to unthinkingly veer from the marked trail – can impact our lives in ways we could have never imagined.
Or maybe it’s just this: I went for a walk and saw a bear in the woods and we watched one another for a while. Then we went our separate ways.
Apropos of all the car talk, a great segment from Erica. (some folks seem to have a hard time seeing the links… so here are the analog instructions: click “from Erica”)
Been a while since we’ve had any music. How ’bout this one from the Turnpike Troubadours?