I’m looking at the past from the other side of the fence and feel like I’m in a museum. I see the red oil lantern hanging on the right side of the green door and the wreath hanging on the left side with the piece of deer antler stuck in it, the long eavestrough pipe on an angle under the window on the north wall, the balcony at the back to the east, and underneath where I kept my wood and hung my tobacco to dry. I see the juniper bushes and the old white plastic chairs on the grass and the road covered in orange pine needles where I drove up, where I used to throw sticks for the dogs. No one lives there now.
I wonder if I sensed the future then, walking across the invisible line. The wire fence is five feet high and travels five acres around the territory of my client’s land. It is for the Deerhounds. They stand on either side of me, sniffing, looking across at a place they’ll never know, at my outhouse without a door just there in the spruce trees, at the pile of cedar branches still there. One morning, as I was walking here where I now stand, maybe in the very place where the fence intersects, I found a deer skull glowing white at my feet, perfectly clean, perfectly intact. I keep it at home on a ledge above my window.
The land was once open. We could walk for hours. I didn’t think of the land as belonging to someone, that it could be bought or sold. I didn’t know that I would be standing here with two Deerhounds. looking across the wires of time. I hear laughter and Ti-loup’s bark. I see Bee crouched down waiting for the stick, her steady brown-eyed stare. Is it still there? Is this fence, was this fence, waiting on the edges? looking in? Did we hear a whisper of my voice saying to the Deerhounds, “this was where I lived.”
The fence crosses part of the path I took with Ti-loup and Bee. It is a strange feeling to walk on a path that is enclosed. I wish there was a gate so I could show the Deerhounds where it leads. In the beginning I was happy to retrace the parametres, but now I sense the containment. The Deerhounds have a microcosm of a greater meaning. We breathe in the forest. I show them the deer droppings. The deer see no division. They leap the fence.