Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

Buck spent most of the day on his tractor, bushhogging the post-construction cutover area and the edges of the road all the way to the gate.

I ran my traps, too, picking up shrimp from the fish house on the shore, Kalamata olives and fragrant olive oil from the small Greek family grocery nearby, “doughnut” peaches (a type of white peach) and late summer tomatoes from the farmer’s market, and the rest of my list for tomorrow’s Pasta Sunday at the Longleaf Bar & Grill from the mainline grocery store.

Buck and I converged in the pool late this afternoon, swimming and talking. Maggie, the chocolate lab, emerged from her shady spot like a moray eel, eager to lick my wet head and receive a ritual splashing. She grew up as an Alabama field trial champion, retrieving ducks in Louisiana bayous. At age 3, she developed hip displacia and was considered washed up in the field trial game. Put out to pasture, we adopted her and brought her home. No more thrill of competition. No more shock collars.

Buck and I swam a lap, flipped, returned on a backstroke, then leaned against the side and talked for awhile — our usual routine. Today the subject was the mind, or the soul, or the divine spark, or the whatever it is that is the unique “me” and the unique “you” and is it energy that cannot be destroyed or is it the random, albeit astonishing, firings of synapses, or is it perhaps something else altogether, perhaps a stained glass shard of divinity within us?

A dragonfly hit the water, hard, falling flat between us. Talk stopped. I slipped my hand under the dragonfly and transferred it to the concrete beyond the pool’s edge. It felt dead.

Leaving it there, I swam another lap.

Buck called me over to observe the dragonfly. “I may be wrong,” he said,” but I think he is breathing.” Peering closely, I could see the creature’s thorax moving feebly.

We took a few more laps, noticing the dragonfly’s almost imperceptible leg and wing movements, then emerged from our swim. It was past 5, time to make preparations for dinner.

Buck gently moved the dragonfly onto a reed placemat on a patio table, and watched him for a few moments. The dragonfly began to move, and then flew — straight back into the pool.

Buck rescued him once again, then holding him aloft, the dragonfly took off one more time, flew over the pool and away. When Buck recounted this to me inside, he said the last time he saw the dragonfly, it was “headed East.”

Speak. Leave a memory.

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