Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Liminal Realty

I took the new digital camera to the environs of the lodge, a two-room structure at the edge of my development off Cienega Road. Since I was little, I always associated the lodge with the boundary between the human and natural worlds. Somehow, this little structure stood just at the point of where charted territory gave way to the wild, thistle-choked trails that could lead to the Yukon or even farther.

With age, I’ve learned the area is actually just pastureland for grazing cattle, only slightly more wild than my backyard. Beyond this, a tennis court, complete with regulation green and red demarcations, sits next to the lodge. So much for all the rustic. Nonetheless, this spot draws me back.

Walking around gives me with the same feeling I get when I walk on through a graveyard. Just as a tombstones mark that a certain plot of land belongs to the dead, I think the overgrown bushes and dilapidated human structures mark the lodge area as a small chunk of land nature itself is trying to reclaim.

So much there is odd. So much catches my eye. Decaying wooden planks. A plastic necklace lost by some careless little girl. A desiccated baseball, having rotted in the brush for God knows how long. In the bleak gray of late December, even the house on the hill overlooking the lodge looms with an eerie starkness like you might see in a Tim Burton film.

Nature hasn’t yet subjugated humans. It’s still a conflict in progress, or so I thought while I snapped a picture of an old fence running up a hill and alongside a giant oak. Surely, the oak will one day win.

I didn’t see another soul during the two hours I walked around taking pictures. When I was young, I used to think that some evil hobo lived in the lodge. I’ve never fully convinced myself that one doesn’t.

Some places are better of left alone.

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