A couple of days ago I walked across the road from the house, walked up to the fence of a piece of private property, raised my camera and quickly snapped a few pictures of the deer grazing in the yard.
After taking a few distance pictures I walked along the fence line headed for the side of the home.
As I reached the corner I looked up ahead of me and saw this little guy.
Deer. Rabbits. Bambi. Thumper.
As I have done so many times over the past few years I good naturedly wondered if I was living inside a Disney movie.
I stood five feet away from the rabbit, snapped a few pictures, watched him watching me and wondered when he was going to make a run for it.
Slowly I took one step, and watched in amusement as bunny scurried to the corner of the fence, turned left and disappeared.
I also continued to the corner of the fence, turned left and headed for the front door of the mobile home.
A man bought this piece of property in the spring and has spent a lot of time and effort on it ever since.
He is a widower. A man who lost his wife to cancer a few years ago, and after listening to him talk about her a few times I know that he still misses her very much.
A good man who reminds me in some ways of LC.
A Vietnam Veteran. A gun lover. A man with a sharp sense of humor with people he likes and a complete disdain and distancing from those he does not.
His name is Gary and he walks across the road regularly and together he and LC sit on coolers in the garage, drink coffee and solve the worlds problems.
Once a week or so he comes over for dinner.
Gary bought this piece of land and the buildings that are on it.
The mobile home where he now lives needs work, and I have counseled him a couple of times to not question why previous owners did the stupid (and sometimes unsafe) things they did to the home.
We have run into the same thing quite a few times with our own house, and I have told LC the same thing.
Don't try to get inside the heads of stupid people.
Just know and accept that when you work on anything in the house from the plumbing to the electrical to the aesthetic, that you will be opening a can of worms.
Over the past three years those cans have mostly been opened and dealt with one at a time.
The mobile home is a mess but fixable and certainly adequate for a single man.
The storage buildings are appreciated by him.
But mostly I love the piece of land.
The deer have eaten down plenty of the trees and shrubs (just as they have at our house), but his land is good land and the views of the desert and the Twin Buttes are beautiful.....................
It felt strange to be knocking on his door, because I have been over to his home only rarely.
When Gary answered the door it was obvious that he was surprised to see me, but said that I was welcome to go into the back yard to take pictures of the deer.
Trying to be friendly, he told me to just go into the yard anytime even if he was not home.
Smiling I thanked him and told him that I appreciated the offer, but no.
I would not go onto his land without first asking him and letting him know that I was there.
With that I smiled and said goodbye, walked through the side gate and slowly began to walk through the yard.
As I did I noticed Thumper running across the yard and also heading towards the deer.
Cute little guy.
If he ever wandered across the road into our yard Kory would chase him.
Until eventually she caught him.
She always catches them.
She always catches them.
I stood watching him for a minute, consciously hoping that Thumper stayed in his own yard.....................
Moving slowly I closed the distance between the deer and me, snapping sporadic pictures as I went.
There were 7 or 8 grazing contentedly in this welcoming place.
A place where water was left out for them, just as it was left out for them in our own yard (courtesy of Korys' wading pool), and there was plenty to eat.
As I continued my slow walk they occasionally looked up from their grazing.
They knew I was there and were watchful, but not alarmed.......................
One young buck, a few does, and a couple of fawns.................
As I reached the shade of a tree I finally decided that I was close enough.
Crouching down close to the ground I began to snap endless pictures as they slowly grazed their way across the yard.
Beautiful things and it was peaceful to watch them...................
A couple of hours later I walked in town with Kory and the small and growing herd had moved on to the opposite side of town.
As my dog and I walked up and down one dirt and gravel road after another we eventually found them crossing over one of the roads.
Moving (as they freely do) from one yard to the next.................
A coupe MORE hours later LC, Kory and I hopped into the Suburban and drove to the back of town,
In the few minutes it took for us to load into the vehicle and reach our destination we almost missed the sunset.
It seems to happen that way here.
One minute I can see the sun beginning to set through the trees in the back yard, and the next minute it is over.
But I still managed to capture the fading pinks and purples of a desert and distant mountains, barely covered with the smoke of endless western wildfire..................
The other day I did something that I wished I had not done.
I found Jessica's Face Book page.
I don't hear from her anymore. Don't get updates on her son and my grand son anymore.
I found a picture of him.
He is growing fast. Looking more like his mother every day.
The last time I looked at Jessica's page was probably over a year ago, and there wasn't much on it presumably because of the security settings she had on her page.
This time there was much more.
Her. Her son.
Seans' picture had been on her page last time but it is gone now.
She is in a relationship with someone and she sounds happy..................
Not long after Sean died I was on a hospital page in Nashville.
The same hospital that he had worked for.
They were looking for an Athletic Trainer.
Of course they were...................
His clothes are gone. His truck was given to one of Jess's brothers.
I saw the pictures online when the house was put up for sale.
It was mostly empty but there were still a few things left in the house.
You're supposed to do that when its on the market.
So potential buyers can envision their own furniture in the home................
The matching maple china cabinet and pedestal table were still sitting in the dining room.
The ones I had bought a couple of years before Sean was born.
The ones I had given Sean and Jessica when they got married..............
On the dining room wall was a picture of a snow capped mountain reflected perfectly in a mirror-calm lake.
I had taken that picture in Juneau Alaska.
I loved that picture.
I loved that place.
I had the picture blown up and then had it professionally framed.
Had given it to Sean and Jessica as a Christmas present.
The last Christmas.
The last Christmas with him.
The last Christmas when I didn't have to fake it.......................
Jessica has moved on.
She's a young woman.
She's supposed to move on.
I'm glad for her.............................
He awoke each morning with the desire to do right, to be a good and meaningful person, to be, as simple as it sounded and as impossible as it actually was, happy. And during the course of each day his heart would descend from his chest into his stomach. By early afternoon he was overcome by the feeling that nothing was right, or nothing was right for him, and by the desire to be alone. By evening he was fulfilled: alone in the magnitude of his grief, alone in his aimless guilt, alone even in his loneliness. I am not sad, he would repeat to himself over and over, I am not sad. As if he might one day convince himself. Or fool himself. Or convince others--the only thing worse than being sad is for others to know that you are sad. I am not sad. I am not sad. Because his life had unlimited potential for happiness, insofar as it was an empty white room. He would fall asleep with his heart at the foot of his bed, like some domesticated animal that was no part of him at all. And each morning he would wake with it again in the cupboard of his rib cage, having become a little heavier, a little weaker, but still pumping. And by the mid afternoon he was again overcome with the desire to be somewhere else, someone else, someone else somewhere else. I am not sad..........Jonathan Safran Foer