BACK LEGS HEAVY, SPIRIT FREE

When I walk in the woods I try to relax my eyes and ears, not scan or look for something, let the trees reveal themselves. But there’s a mystery there.

I walked in the woods and there was Stanley framed by the two large trees, the road behind them going deeper and deeper into the forest. He seemed unaware, sniffing and looking to the side, and I paused. Would he cross that threshold? Would he walk beneath them to wherever the road led?

At first something drew him to a wet clump of grass ten feet away, but he came back. He then went the other way, perhaps smelling the creek rushing down below; in the old days he would have run down to drink, stepping carefully in the foam. But he’s too old for that now. Finally he scampered under the trees and went on his way, his back legs heavy, spirit free.