Sunday, April 29, 2007


Tamar had been inside now for two or three days so this afternoon I invited her to come with me. I had a couple of errands to run and I thought I’d drive up to the Comeau to see if she’d like a run. She doesn’t like rain, but I thought maybe it had lightened up enough. Tamar grabbed her ball and dashed to the car. I brought my camera. There was an incredible tree trunk I had passed two days ago that I wanted to photograph. It was gnarled and wrinkled and looked like an old witchey woman’s torso. It never works for me to go back to something I have seen to photograph it. If I don’t catch what I see immediately it goes away, but I wanted to give this a try especially since it was a grey drizzly afternoon and I thought the tree trunk would look good in the rain. Woody Allen said he likes to film on cloudy days best and this has filtered into my own preferences.

Tamar and I drive through the Bearsville Flats. Tamar jumps into the front seat as soon as the car begins to move. She doesn’t like the back seat. There’s a structural malfunction back there that makes it sound like the back seat is going to fall through the floor and she doesn’t like it. So she hops into the front seat and pokes her head out the window that I have opened just for this purpose. but the windshield wipers are squeaking and this is scary too. Each time they squeak, Tamar jumps. She turns toward me, licks my face, but I say some strict words because her timing is bad and she retreats back to her passenger seat. I turn off the wipers. I don’t need them that much.

The tree I saw was on Wittenberg, not far I thought, but of course it’s farther than I remember. There it is, at the foot of someone’s driveway. I slow down and look. Yes, I can see what I saw two nights ago, but the spark I feel before taking a photo is not there and I know the picture will be lifeless. So I turn around and head back.

I’m never satisfied with my tree pictures anyway. I think of that huge gnarled one I took pictures of a few years ago in the Brookly Botanical Garden early one Spring. I tought with a tree like that I couldn’t miss, but the photos didn’t catch the texture, the monstrousness of that animal tree.

there’s hardly any rain now, less than when we left the house a few mintues ago. I have to get to the bank before five, but we’ve got plenty of time for a run up at the Comeau.

Tamar begins barking when I make the turn and as I pull into the parking lot she scrambles into my lap to exit through my door. I let her out before even turning off the engine. She is always in a huge hurry at this point.

We walk out into the beautiful hilltop field from which you can see a horizon of mountains, Tamar running ahead. I see a new sign has been posted on the gate – typed and laminated. I stop to read it. It tells me that it’s now soccer season and time for the Easter Egg hunt and if I don’t want to pick up after my dog to walk somewhere else. I keep walking.

As I approach a line of trees I see Tamar way off in the winter-brown field hunched up in her taking-a-shit position and hear my name called. I stop. I don’t see anyone. Then through the trees I see Dave walking with a pole in his hand. He comes up to me in a hat and rain jacket. “How long have you been out?” I ask. It’s been pouring for two days until just now. “Oh, about an hour and a half,” he says. “I been fooling around with drainage. You know how I like playing engineer.” I try to keep his eyes on me, hoping he will not notice Tamar.

As we talk I wish I could photograph him. He looks so fresh and strong, just out of the rain. I know he would love this photo that I can see as I look at him, but the camera’s in the car and it’s another photo that I will see but not take.

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