"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

07 February 2010

Pictures Through Time

The knock at the door was enough to get me to jump. It was a chilly gray day with low hanging clouds and almost constant flurries, making it rather quiet out. I was not expecting company.

He was an older man, bespectacled, perhaps in his mid-fifties to early sixties. He was smiling. Behind him, at the gate, was a woman. Obviously his wife. In his hands he held a camera and an old photograph.

"Hello and good afternoon," he began in a friendly tone as he held up the photograph. "This is a picture of my great uncle, taken in either the thirties or forties. I'm sure you recognize the building the background and maybe where it was taken from?"

The black and white photograph was of two men. They were standing on the porch of the House of Owls and Bats. The building in the background was once the township's schoolhouse, but now serves as the museum during the summer tourist season.

"That's neat," I said politely, hoping he didn't want to come in for tea or anything. My misanthropy made manifest.

"I was wondering if I could get a picture from the same place," the man said. "Sort of showing through the generations."

Milarepa was in the yard, and was excitedly watching these strangers. I stepped out onto the porch, pulling the door closed behind me. The man's wife seemed both uneasy and embarrassed by her husband's request. Despite myself, I smirked.

"Sure," I said with a shrug. "Let me grab the dog. She might lick you to death otherwise."

The wife apologized for dragging me out in the snow. The man got his photograph taken, holding the black and white of his great uncle. He thanked me several times over after the fact.

Once back inside, I watched them drive away. It was an interesting happenstance on a cold, snowy, and quiet afternoon. Still, I realized I probably shouldn't be too surprised. The house is one-hundred thirty years old, after all. There are bound to be some ghosts, and there fleshbound relatives, attached to it.

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