I once lived in a little blue cabin. It was one of the happiest times in my life. Now I’m looking at the past from the other side of the fence, and I feel like I’m in a museum. I can 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 where I drove up, covered in orange pine needles, and where I used to throw sticks for Ti-loup and Bee. No one lives there. Ti-loup is dead, and Bee is an old border collie with grey hairs. She does not roam the way she used to. 

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, looking across at a place they’ll never know, at my outhouse without a door, just there in the spruce trees. I remember walking towards me, crossing the line. The pile of cedar branches is still here. The Deerhounds always sniff it out. It is the grave of a roadkill deer I salvaged one night on my way back from work. I worked all night skinning it on a tarp outside my cabin. I tanned the hide and have it now at home, waiting for a project. I dragged the body through these trees and laid her to rest, where the creatures worked away in secret. One morning, as I was walking here where I now stand, maybe in the very place where the fence intersects, I found the deer skull, glowing white at my feet, perfectly clean, perfectly intact. I have this also at home on a ledge above my window. 

I didn’t know what would happen. The land was open. We could walk for hours. I didn’t think of the land as belonging to someone, that it could be bought and sold. And when I left I didn’t think I would come back. I didn’t know the Deerhounds would come, or that I would take care of them. As I look across the wires I think of time. I can hear my laughter and Ti-loup’s bark. I can 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, haunting me? 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 the path would continue, and I could show the Deerhounds where it leads. We walk the parametres. In the beginning I was happy to retrace the land, but now I sense the containment. This is what the Deerhounds have, a microcosm of a greater meaning. This is what I work with. I stop to sit in the sun and we breathe in the forest. I show them the deer droppings. It means the deer leap the fence. They see no border.