Where we live, if you see what appears to be a homeless encampment under some trees it’s probably just the local teenagers leaving their trash. And that’s exactly it, though it looks like they stole a hand basket from the grocery store this time and left an unopened box of Lucky Charms the crows have just now discovered. They descend upon it like it’s Christmas morning and leave a trail of fluorescent marshmallows in the road, looters: using their crow bars to puncture the styrofoam clamshells, the plastic Target bags, the McDonald’s fries. It is a good morning to be a crow.
The lake is the color of lead with the June gloom we are all under, the dense marine layer of clouds picking up deep greens in the pines along the shores. I climb the path around the park past the empty parking lot, the kids’ play area and rock climbing wall that’s been taped off. With the swings removed it has the look of a beached whale rotting out. And I remember the dream I had about a raccoon that killed my cat, you could tell by how the carpet was discolored. That, inspired by the raccoon outside our house loping across the road like some deranged assistant to a mad scientist, Peter Lorre style.
We are all just trying to get by, living off trash and whatever we can. Out here we are removed from that. And our kids, if we aren’t lucky, learn to stay removed themselves. Getting drunk on summer nights by the funeral home in the shade of some overhang and then running off: we’ll leave the remains for someone else to deal with in the morning.