William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Friendship, Devotion, and Care

Our recent walk through the fog near Goose Lake seems like something that happened ages ago — a lifetime, maybe more. I study the calendar: is it something I really know how to read?

Upon our arrival, we met a man and a dog who had just finished their walk. Standing beside the open door of his small yellow pickup, the man was gently blotting moisture from the dog’s head. With its eyes half closed, the dog’s expression told a story of friendship, devotion, and care. When the man looked up to greet us, his own was much the same. And he was not at all embarrassed to be seen in such an intimate, revealing moment. His attitude spoke volumes; perhaps ours did as well.

He said they had seen three coyotes at the far-west end of the open field where the path turned north. I told him we had not seen coyotes for at least a year, and that the ones we had seen looked very healthy and had beautiful coats. He replied that they should, with all of the rabbits around. He added that sometimes the coyotes seem spooked in the fog, and that he thought that made them come out into the open. Then he smiled and said, “Enjoy your hike.”

We saw no rabbits. We did see a large red squirrel in a tree. It was chattering in a way that, until we spotted it, we thought it must be a bird. We met no other humans while we were out. Ours was the only car in the lot by the immense black walnut tree that graces the area, and which is now yellowing and dropping its leaves. We saw no nuts beneath it, unlike the trees near the old cottonwood by Mission Lake, where the nuts are thick on the ground. Maybe it is secure in itself and has outgrown its need to reproduce, unlike the younger members of its kind.

October 18, 2021


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