Honestly I wasn't sure how I was going to get in the car. A hundred what if 's clicking through my mind like a slideshow. What if I hadn't let the kids out for one last jump before we hit the road? We wouldn't have found the injured dog laying in our yard. She would have died alone. What if I had let them go out sooner? She might have been helped before it was too late. What if I had taken the time to stroll the yard last night? I might have helped her avoid a long night of dark and pain. What if this dog.... was someone's Kilo?
It is the innocence of dogs that gets to me.
Eyes that mix fear with trust.
Their silence too- the inability to say "I need help."
The pictures I have of her are too graphic but they were taken to help find her owner. The only way a dog with that broken of a leg could have gotten into our yard was if she had been hit very near our house. And on Easter Sunday the only chance we had to help her was to go door to door and find her owner.
Who would have a cattle dog with a leather collar but no tags: the Wayman's. Together BC and I walked down the street. Me holding my camera. It goes like this: Mr. W dressed for church opens the door. Are you missing a dog? A dog that looks like this? We believe she was hit....
Turns out it was a Wayman dog. In fact Molly was the mother of all the dogs they had. Her owner one of the adult brothers. A man with small children. A man called down the street by his brother to retrieve his dying dog on Easter morning.
I feel complicit in the demise of this dog. It is not fault or guilt it is connection. The same connection to Kilo and my sister. Deaths that teetered on the edge of isolation. Suffering in plain sight. The drowning man. The call from Everest. Texts from a plane.
Turn it all black and white and flatten the demons.There are other reason I take photos. I don't trust my memory to hold enough. I have times when I need to see things and if I can't find them perfectly resurrected by the words in my memory I panic. I don't like to be startled- I need to know right where things are.
Often it is the missing details in a dream that are the triggers of my nightmares. I still remember the overwhelming urge to photograph my sister's apartment. I never did but perhaps I might have been better off if I had. Instead I drank it all in and it ate me up. In the end I had to tear up my mind to get free of it.
These days I have learned to find ways out without setting my mind on fire.
I have erected small shelters from the wind.But nothing works as well as the desert does. Even when I sleep words and phrases dominate my head. My mind is always writing and I have a hard time keeping up. But in the desert I have no words. They pass harmlessly by like the shadows of clouds rolling across the sand. I’ve tried listening but I can’t quite hear them. They flutter away. I have taken a hundred notebooks for long car rides down dusty desert roads and they all come home empty.
So of course I did get in the car. We did go to the edge of the desert. Bathed in silence I could make out in the distance feelings that shimmer like a mirage I knew there was once a dog named Molly whose life did not end they way it should have. I knew of a lost sister and the broken body of a black dog, both died reaching for what they never would have. Somewhere deeper the fears of a young mother with nowhere and no one to turn to for help. But the feelings fluttered and faded into the sunlight, whisked up by ribbons of heat.
And as I reminded myself if wanted to jump from where I was I had to let go of the want of ground first. I had to look ahead, loosen my body, and push away the world beneath me. Right then something caught in my mind: What gets me about dogs is their innocence, their fear & trust, and their silence.
Forever rest in