on the hunt

 

Yesterday we stopped at a farmstand for the most ridiculous ice cream possible—in Evan’s case, one scoop Cotton Candy Whizz and one scoop Kaleidoscope Cow, or hot pink piled upon baby pink with rainbow swirls (vanilla schmilla).

As he slurped contentedly we wandered around to see a shedful of goats, and then beyond that a shedful of rabbits, and beyond that a tricycle-tractor race runaround and then a peacock hut and then a landlubbing fishing boat filled with digging sand and then, finally, a nondescript sign at the mouth of a break in the brush.

TANNERY HOLLOW.

As we walked along the trail through meadows and tunnels with poplar canopies and over bridges and slippery roots it occurred to me where I might be. This is the old man’s land, where it all happens...

I saw her then, small and caked with filth: alight and heart pounding, dodging and leaping along this very singletrack worn by generations of feet into the creekside, a precursor to thundering hooliganism. And there he was, the hunter: mapping out grids and pressing pins onto topographical maps and gathering specimens. The old man asks kindly Well then my man, what’ll you do when you catch 'em? What happens when you reach for one of those clues and it’s in the shadow of a… and it occurs to him as well as me that he simply hasn’t thought of that yet.

To clarify, the small and filthy one, the old man and the hunter are characters in the book. This episode was a brush with that parallel world. Being in a setting so like what I'd envisioned made it all come alive, which was almost eerie. I'm relatively small and often filthy, but the last time I checked, I am not a precursor to thundering hooliganism. Except when pregnant.