The Prompt: A Moment in Time–What was the last picture you took? Tell us the story behind it.
A year ago, friends from our old neighborhood in Boulder Creek, CA, had come to visit me. I hadn’t seen them in the twenty or so years since they had decided to retire early, sell their house and take off to sail around the world in their boat. They’d asked us several times to come visit them on the boat, but we’d put it off for too long. By the time we, too, retired and bought a house in Mexico, thinking we’d meet up there, they had sailed on to more southern climes and then very quickly, Bob took the biggest journey of all and I ended up moving to Mexico alone. Twelve years later, Lach and Becky had moved back to land, to her old home town in Washington.
When they emailed to say they’d like to come visit me, I was happy to renew the old bonds, happier still when they liked my new home town so much that they decided to buy a house in a nearby small town, and did—on that first visit. They had returned to the U.S. to wrap up old business and now they had returned. As they awaited the arrival of boxes of necessities, they were once again staying with me, newly arrived home after two months at the beach, where I’d watched 60 magnificent beach sunsets in a row—each uniquely beautiful.
But home sunsets had their own glory: the magnificent Mt. Garcia with Colima Volcano peeking over its side, the lake below reflecting the colors of the sunset, the domes of houses down below giving foreground interest. As I glanced up from my dinner preparations, I knew this was yet another of a thousand unique sunsets I had previously captured. I even knew where my camera was—a wonder after days of unpacking and putting away piles of the car full of home necessities I’d lugged with me to the beach.
I snapped dozens of pictures from three different levels of the terrace and garden. Then, spying the hammock in the gazebo on the lowest level, I decided to swing for awhile and watch the progress of the sunset. Since my house is on a mountainside, I was still far above the lake with lots of sky to view as well. As I neared the hammock, I saw Diego—my youngest and blackest and most mischievous dog—gnawing on something that sounded like a bone.
I tried to see what it was, but he moved off quickly. I knew the crunch of bones, however, and was sure one of the friends who used my house while I was gone had supplied him with a bone which he had promptly buried. Then I remembered that the dogs hadn’t been there while I was gone, but had stayed with a friend in his house. But occasional uprooted flowers or succulents give testimony that my yard is in fact a graveyard for buried and un-resurrected bones. Diego had probably just unearthed one he’d been dreaming of for the two months he’d been separated from it.
I had my swings in the hammock, a little shut-eye if not sleep, supervised the sunset, and then decided Lach and Becky would soon be back from a foray to their house, a few miles away in Chapala. It was to be our farewell dinner tonight as they were moving to their own digs tomorrow. I climbed the short pathway up to the house, noting as I approached it, that both the grillwork and screen between the terrace and living room were open, even though I remembered very distinctly having shut them on my way out of the house. I slid both shut behind me as I moved to the kitchen to finish dinner preparations. Two pans of veggies stood in their steamers on top of the stove, mashed potatoes were covered and ready to heat up in the microwave, apple cake covered on the counter, six pork chops —(not) nestled in the skillet ready to be browned.
It became immediately clear what Diego had been munching down below. As I snapped photos (including these) he had slid open the slider and deftly purloined six raw pork chops without even moving the skillet, which stood in exactly the same position on the stove where I had left it. Bad dog! I shouted off into empty space, as he probably lay on the dome of the house—both dogs’ favorite spot in the house—accessible by first a set of stairs that ran up the side of the house and then a small leap to to ledge around the dome and a fast scramble up its smooth sides. I imagined him up there, licking his chops (literally, in two regards,) enjoying the sunset.