It was their first walk together in a long time. The bum hip had kept them from it. But now, new joint in place and mostly healed, they set off down the driveway as they did when they first met. Talking, holding hands, enjoying the time and place together, free of aches, and pain. Remembering reasons for being here in the first place.
The forest this time of year is a soft brown, devoid of the brilliance of spring and fall, so open you can see deep into the trees. Around a turn, a flash of bright assaults us from the edge of the road. Plastic bags, filled with all manner of shit, literally, as they mostly hold used disposable diapers. Tossed, left for dogs and creatures to shred, the earth won’t ever absorb it. You think, “What ignorant fool would do this?” But it isn’t the first time and you know it won’t be the last.
We get to the one-lane bridge that is our turnaround spot on this day. The creek is beautiful here – light and water tumbling over rocks, creating large pools of sunlight where one can spot an occasional fish, following its age-old path to the river and the sea. A bubbling brook some writers might call it, but not in a heavy rain. A look from the other side of the crossing reveals the dead deer – hide, a skeletal carcass, forelegs with just enough sharply-cut meat attached to the bone to tell you this was the work of man. Killed, skinned, gutted, and butchered; the remains thrown in the creek, where it will feed others for days to come.