In less than a minute after entering the woods, I acquire an aura of insects. I step carefully through knee-high wood nettles with my hands in the air, peer at the screen in the back of my camera as if it were an escape hatch, and focus on the one still fly.
Now that they are silent and surrounded by new forest, we want the lime kilns to bear more than a passing resemblance to Mayan temples — to have been shrines to something other than greed and toil. We want their gaping to reflect openness rather than consumption, and their standing apart to signify fidelity to a transcendent vision, one that was always intended to culminate in a hillside of yellow moccasin flowers, tulip trees dripping with nectar, and an abandoned mine harboring endangered bats.
A thunderstorm shakes me out of sleep in the small hours. I lie awake listening to non-human screams — cat? Raccoon? In the morning, I peer up into the crevasse between the portico and the house, as if the bat’s sleeping face held any clues. The peonies are bent double with their latest haul of rain.