First I have to say that my silence here has been generated by technological challenges—it has taken me this long (since Tyler’s birthday in November!) to figure out how to access Microsoft Word on this new laptop, and then how to get into my own blog on this new laptop. Embarrassing and true. Somehow today I had a breakthrough, and here I am. And here puppy Paden is:
That is the good news of this post. What follows is not so good….
Each time I close my eyes I see an obtuse scalene triangle of clear light. Day or night, same piece of light. It appears tangible, touchable, as if one could hold it like a large puzzle piece and fit it into the puzzle. It can only go one way. Sheer point away, blunted end toward me. It’s almost flat, a forty-five-degree angle from the floor. Coming from inside.
The puzzle, if laid out, would look like this: the muted dark of a full-moon night, the shadow of a large one-seed juniper spreading over a shed, a barn to the right, a woman at the house a hundred feet away looking out an open sliding glass door toward the shed, the only artificial light that of the triangle. Coming from inside.
The woman is tired. The dogs woke her up. She left the comfort of her bed to see what caused them to bark. They don’t bark unless there’s something real out there, which could be fox, coyote, cow, or Ken passing by to check on the first-calf heifers.
Without turning on any lights she stepped through the house to the door and she looks out, keeping the large pup quiet near her feet, and tries to remember where she left the flashlight, the binoculars. Both are in the truck. She’d have to put on her robe and mud boots to go to the truck. Is that light coming from inside the shed, or reflected moonlight? Is it Ken, moving something?
That’s why she’s tired. They have been moving all day, from the old ranch house near hers to the house at the top of the property nearly half a mile away. All day, she didn’t stop moving, packing and carrying boxes or furniture or sweeping the cracks and corners of kids’ small toys, candy wrappers, and ranch dirt revealed by removed couches, shelves, the big chair.
Ken moved his family to the upper ranch house so the kids would have their own bedrooms. It made sense. The woman is alone down here for the first night in a long time and she felt sad when she went to bed, no son or grandkids or family close by. Sad but not scared. Now she feels tired. And she feels a wave of something, some kind of energy out there in the dark. She pauses, thinking numbly of mud boots and flashlight, of finding the puppy’s leash and stepping into the night, and she closes the sliding glass door against it all and goes back to bed.
By morning she has forgotten the triangle of light. She only vaguely remembers the dogs barking, until three days later when Ken discovers that his gun safe in the shed has been broken into, all the firearms stolen, all the ammo gone. It takes a while for her senses to recreate the puzzle, put the pieces together. The dogs waking her. Moonlight and shadow out the sliding glass door. Her sense of something amiss, of needing to investigate, overridden by exhaustion. The last piece of the puzzle: light coming from inside, from someone’s flashlight or headlamp as they drilled the lock out of the safe and filled their backpacks with handguns and rounds, slung the shotguns over their shoulders, the door slightly ajar making the triangle of light on the floor of the shed that I now see each time I close my eyes.