May 29, 1980
The Crusted log sits higher on the river bank this year than last, raised and left by some high tide last winter.
Each seasons pushes it around, leaving it scared with bold and moss, green this time of year, brown under the frost in winter.
Less sturdy than the brick foundation of the mills or even the cracked concrete, the log slowly rots. Its limbs went first, cracking off during the first few seasons to the weight of frost, losing grip on the matted newsprint and drifting soda bottles until its limbs became nubs, and it could no longer contain them.
This year only the torso is left, cracked open at the middle where insects scurrying eating at its heart so that next year it might fall totally open or even vanish.
It reminds me of the old man I see hobbling along the sidewalk of
clutching his cane as he surveys the gutters for coins or lost valuables, Main Street and the
river favoring younger things over old thing as part of the cycle of life.
At 29 years old, I only now feel connected to this log, lost among the vines and detritus, waiting for death to come. At my age, we envision dying as something quick, the flickering out of a candle’s flame. But it often isn’t, sometimes it is a slow process of rotting away, lost limbs, gutted insides, of searching for subsidence around the detritus.
Sometimes, we just ride out those days, waiting for the tides to push us here and there, grateful for another season, even if it costs us a limb or pieces of our heart.