fly on ash leaves

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.

lime kilns at Canoe Creek

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.

11 Replies to “Auras”

  1. A vision of Mayan temples, that IS quite stunning! What we leave behind becomes the archaeology for the future. I often wonder what conclusions will be made of the kind of people we were, compared the ancients before us.

  2. I used to wander deserted railyards at night, in Spokane, derelict for many years. Indecipherable monuments by starlight, hints of Ozymandius. Strange how you can get the same effect in bright sun.

    Wonderful, wonderful photos, both of them.

  3. I want to know more about the abandoned mines harboring the endangered bats. I love the peering into the crevasse too, into the gap, and the mystery of the non-human cries. There’s a parallel there for me that works so simply and beautifully.

    1. Yes, as you know, you can live in the woods all your life and still not be able to identify every cry.

      The federally endanged Indiana bat has been found in a hibernaculum in the old mine at Canoe Creek State Park, and also in a large maternity colony of little brown bats at a nearby, abandoned church — now also owned by the park, which has become one of the most interesting parks in the state due to its unique focus on bats. It’s about twenty miles south of here.

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