I'm at the farm again. The farm that's really a ranch. Or a vineyard. Or a place I call home,
sometimes. I walk the dogs that are mine. Or they walk me. And, really, they belong to no one, except each other, and the farmer, who has gone away, for a spell.
I'm not sure I'll ever stop missing Isaac though. We walk by his grave on our daily walks. On the way into the cherry orchard. I miss his energy, his curiosity, his grace, his impishness, his alpha role, his body, the soft fur under his ears, the kisses he gave before knocking me over.
I did find some new wonderful photographs of him in Patrick's computer though. Here's one which will show you how silly and serious he could be.
I photograph this land over and over. The new fruits on the trees, cherries of every shade from blush to blood. Grasses waving in marshmallow winds, full with over-the-ridge maritime coolness. The barn. The summer garden filled with tomato plants and squashy melons. The light and shadow that reach through the vineyards. The ground that catches and hides felled fruit: almond carcasses and pits. The grand stand of fig trees, reaching out every year more into, onto and out, like snow angels. The river. The dogs as they walk in front of me, tails held high. The oak leaves. The spidery blackberry bushes and their glossy black fruits.
I come here for thought. To remember, be remembered. Fill in empty places with people who've been here before. The dog who jumped high and stole my peanut butter sandwich. My mother who knitted under the walnut trees. Patrick when he was my lover. Cooks I have worked with. Friends who've moved away. The plum trees there, before there were more grapes. The person I was when I moved here.
I sit, I walk the dogs; long familiar quiet walks, I read, I snack, I catch up with phone calls, I think, I sleep in complete darkness, I make comforting meals, I sleep in, I photograph, and sometimes I share this place with others.