By Brian Michael Barbeito
The farms and the fields tell stories even as you only pass by them in modern vehicles and well made highways. Of course, there are smaller ways; dirt and asphalt, which are not as well made, that are old. My impressions were that all was well, as it was Saturday afternoon late and trying to be early evening and evening. The dark would make an interesting place, but not great for pictures, or to see much. The best part of the dark was seen was when the CN came across the way with its lights and some yellow stickers and unique graffiti to take goods wherever it was going. And the greatest part of the light was the coyote and then, later on, the ice and lake.
I was driving along a back road when I noticed to my left the coyote. He was solitary, (he or she but I shall call him a he), and though he blended in with the field, I was close enough, (a few hundred feet), to see him. Many would miss him, and though no expert, I have trained my vision intentionally and unintentionally through walking through the forest for years. Suddenly you realize, or perhaps gradually, that you can identify something in the distance, or a slight movement in the landscape, that you would have probably missed before. And it makes one to think, after coming a little way with this talent or learned skill or whatever it is,- how much else is there, how much else one has missed or might miss…
In any event, the coyote. He was not like a city coyote that are sometimes with mange, - no, he was full coated and roundish in around the body and looked healthy, stealthy, bright, and light brown or beige. What I should have done was slowly turned the truck around and quietly taken a nice picture from the window. He probably wouldn’t have been bothered or seen me, - since he was used to the sound of the traffic. That is what I must remember to do next time. This time, - I carefully pulled over, put on the hazards, and got out and went across. I took a few pics but my technology is not even good, never mind great, - for far away pictures. And I startled him and we looked at one another. I knew I wouldn’t have long to watch this beautiful and interesting animal, so I just waited and enjoyed watching...
There was next a couple long moments where we met eyes and just watched one another. He more scared of me than I of him. Quiet though. Timeless. Then he slowly turned around and pranced a few meters, (I go from imperial to metric it seems), - and then kind of trotted into the woods. I know there are many of them there because I know of someone who lives there. I don’t walk there. It’s not accessible or allowed. I inwardly bid adieu to coyote and went and made my way.
For the next hour it was a drive to the more north parts even if it was not the true and furthest north. There were many times when there was nothing but vast and empty space, below which the land went out in all directions flaxen, golden, and sometimes with a brown loam here or there. I saw some old barns, - from the new to the medium aged to the incredibly decrepit and run down and abandoned. Many had no concrete forms it seemed, but instead large bricks or stones and boulders and then wood was built upon them. The sun came down and shone on what was left of the roofs and sides and surrounding areas. Horses, other animals also, were seen. I wondered what it must be like to go into one, two, three or even more of those places in the bright summer, in the robust weeks where there were little wildflowers and thousands of pebbles and some birds and hay and old locks, doors, windows. Old ways. Old windows and ways!
Later there were old trucks, - somehow aquamarine believe it or not, - and some other trucks on blocks. Small stores with quiet lights that I know cast an interesting and calm yellow glow all the year long. Signage, many pick-ups (which I am never crazy about). Some people flashed their brights to warn of the law up ahead, - and we slow slow s l o w………….and then do the same and the (for the most part), nice people ‘get it,’ and raise gently a hand and say thanks.
Then the lake, - myriad washed stones and pebbles and some boulders. And ice-jam or some kind of something close to it. That preternatural white out there that ice and the sky can be. Actually, looked at closely the sky had hints of blue, - and the clouds were mostly white. Land, rock, little water flowering from a runoff from the dirt streets above,- old trees on the shore line with barren branches,- an opening where there is sand-dirt,- nobody out there,- rocks rocks rocks,. Ice and ice and ice, - its quiet, - the night is coming, - some frames were taken, - the others are waiting, - the world is moving in its own way, - even in the silence I suppose. We have seen it. We know a bit of its way. Its good we went that way and have come this way. We made the right choices along the way and have made the right ones currently. We have seen into it. We have been given a window. We received a bit of grace. It knows what it does,- it goes where it goes,- and speaking of going,- stand up from crouching position and take one last look as its time,- time has come to the timeless,- and it’s time to go.
Brian Michael Barbeito is a Canadian writer, poet and photographer. Recent work appears at Fiction International from San Diego State University, CV2 The Canadian Journal of Poetry and Critical Writing, and at Catch and Release-The Columbia Journal of Arts and Literature. Brian is the author of Chalk Lines (Fowl Pox Press, 2013, cover art by Virgil Kay). He is currently at work on the written and visual nature narrative titled Pastoral Mosaics, Journeys through Landscapes Rural.