That's how the place looks when I think about it. But of course it's green and beautiful.
Take the color away, though, and how do you differentiate between the near and far? Smell, perhaps.
And that's why we are where we are today.
I am writing this on Saturday. Twenty-four hours. We didn't hear a thing. Note: if and or when something changes, I'll tell you at the top. Not going to put you in suspense. That's our job.
Here's where Scout disappeared.
It's a beautful park.
And it's big.
If he'd gone missing in the neighborhood, we would have spent a few hours walking around, waiting for someone to call and say he was in the backyard, or we'd find him by the water tower chasing bunnies, refusing to come back because he was having too much fun.
But this is not the neighborhood.
In the morning Wife went to look. She came back and went off to fetch her mother from Northfield. I went to the park at noon with the usual ridiculous hope: he would have found his way back, and I'd see him right there where he'd vanished. Walked the path I'd walked in the darkness, took the stairs down, forded the creek and went over to the Point and up the sandy banks of the Mississippi.
So many dogs. So many dogs having a grand day out - paddling for sticks, running for joy, digging, or just plodding along because they were old and their puppy days were long behind them.
Now and then I’d see in the distance a dog that was Scout shaped, and have to tamp down any hope - the tail was too thin. It was black, not brindle. It was obviously someone’s dog.
But if he was around here, he’d be with these dogs.
So I walked three and a half miles in, along the shore, then three and a half miles back, through the woods. The fear - so many fears, of course - was that he was set upon by coyotes, and while I didn’t want to think about that I figured that if there was a dead dog in the brushes, other dogs would be interested. Half the wooded area in the park is broad and open - a canopy of trees, open space to walk, the weeds and bushes to the west. No dogs beelining for the underbrush.
When I crossed back over I went north, because I didn’t want to give up.
Everything was quiet and uninhabited. A rock wall full of carvings by the old sacred spring.
I climbed back up the hill and the stairs and walked back to my car, and realized this was exactly how I thought it was going to go.
Time to go online and join the society of lost pets, a place of grief and scant hope. Signed up for a Minnesota Lost Dogs site and put a post on Craigslist and alerted the Humane Society and fat fargin’ lot of good it will do.
I had one more roof panel to finish on the gazebo. It took me an hour because I did it wrong twice. The pieces didn’t fit together. I couldn’t make the pieces work. I’d done it three times without a problem but right now my brain couldn’t figure anything out.
Wife came back from outing with her Mother; went right to bed to nap, having slept not a wink the night before.
I took a nap. Dreamed I found Scout, and he lowered his head for me to attach the leash, and then he faded away. It had the feel of a directed dream, willed. I made him vanish.
Picked daughter up from work. Went to Chick-Fil-A, since we were sorta kinda hungry and no one was making dinner. Ate in the car in the rain. Talked about it, carefully. How we all loved Scout, even though he wasn't one of those dogs that has to be constantly worshipful of You, The Most Exhalted Hooman. He was most enthusiastic about Wife, because she indulged him and took him on the dog-park off-leash walks. I didn’t this year because he fargin’ ran away. He almost ran on the runway of the airport earlier this year. He disappeared in the bog by the airport dog park this year. I can’t stand to lose him.
Scout had my wife over a barrel; I was the boss, and was treated with respect, unless he really wanted to play. We spent the most time together, but it was just us in the same place, me writing in the backyard, Scout on the steps or the patio sofa. In the evening we fought pitched battles on the bed, or I'd chase him in the yard. He wasn’t standoffish; he was always part of the family, but he was not the sort of dog who’s always there, always interested, looking up at you for something, a nervous bundle of want. He was a hound.
Is a hound.
Sitting outside on the stoop, late night, wife disconsolate, running through scenarios. It’s almost the worst to think that he is still alive, because he’d be hungry, and alone. You pour so much into those imaginings.
Why? she asks. Why? He never did that. When we were separated he would always look for me. He’d see me and be relieved and come back. But he just disappeared. He smelled those deer. He smelled those damn deer.
Stupid dog, she says.
I felt that too, I say. But he was just being himself.
If he tried to make it home he would have to cross freeways.
Not if he found the bridge; there are barriers. But I don’t think it’s an Incredible Journey situation.
Why not? He has great sense memory. He smelled the route to the park through the car window.
We’re not going to get another dog.
No of course we are. We are going to get another dog as soon as we can.
Not a hound.
The second day is the worst day. You hope.
As of this posting, he hasn't been found. I wouldn't save that for some great reveal.
Updates because, well, they were done.