Molly waits in trees, her landscape discolored by the phone app and possibly untrue. But somehow its fitting for the melancholy, and possibly truer than the drab brown monotony of the baren season where we climb. A last walk in my favorite hills in the fading hours of stripped-tree winter. I will not see these woods again for some months. How strange it is to say, that I will be gone for months. I wonder if Molly knows.
She is uneasy today. She is talking with her low airy whine. Earlier I pulled a thorn from her webbed toe. She came on the deer trail in front of me and stopped and lifted her paw. But it’s not the thorn that has her talking. There is something in the wind. Or maybe its this new place where I have brought her. To this rock outcropping and cliffs. We have never been on these heights together before and I think it has her a little nervous. This and the fact she must know I am leaving.
I leap across a nine foot deep crevasse to land on the precipice. Molly stays back up on the moss and stone and whines a little. She is a smart dog. She doesn’t take foolish risks, so I know she will be alright and I know she will find her own way with her four feet. So I scale the cliff and go to what I came here for: The cliff face and the graffiti.
I am fascinated by cliff graffiti. How it comes to be here. By its age. And how it is dying. I like this outcropping, because if the dates on the graffiti are an indication then the carving and painting died sometime in the late 1990s. This is a memory stone now. This is only history. Maybe young people don’t have the need to climb their way away from fighting parents anymore, or find a place of solitude. I like to see the graffiti and feel it. 1980 feels old. Love feels deep. 1913 feels unreal.
Molly finds me at the base of a cliff, crawling between 1980 and 1994 to find me.
I wonder where these graffiti writers are now. I wonder if they would be surprised to remember they were here once. I wonder what they would think to know they left a message for the future.
We hike back up through the thorns so we can travel together. Molly finds her feet again, and the trail. And its the homeward blast. She is comfortable again on familiar terrain. The high meadows and thinner forests. Home.