Autumn is heaven's gilded frame on faded summer;a vault door opening to winter treasure,compensation for all that is not, was not, cannot be.
"Have you seen my lens?" I try to keep my voice calm. My husband and I are sightseeing in the mountains and have stopped at a picture perfect viewpoint. I search frantically around the passenger seat. The expensive zoom lens is missing.
I'm not blaming him, just clarifying whether he might have moved it. He's very good at that. "Put it in a safer place," he would say, and then deliver it safe back to my hand.
But not this time.
He is tired. He normally thinks before he speaks. This question was not a stellar moment: "Do you know where it could be?" he asked.
"If I knew where it was, I wouldn't be asking if you had seen it." I try not to grit my teeth, knowing it is not his fault. It is mine, entirely.
I flash back three stops ago. That's when I took the lens out of the camera bag. I put it in the map pocket. Then we stopped at Tim's and got coffee. I had no reason to take it inside. Oh, dear Lord, I can't have left it at Tim Horton's. I was impatient with the cashier and I don't want to have to go ask her if...
"Did you put it back in the bag?" My husband interrupts my guilt train. He really does want to be helpful, but can't possibly read my mind.
Okay, I remember our stop at the first scenic viewpoint where I slid the zoom lens into the pocket of my hiking pants and walked down to the water's edge. I photographed left, I walked right, I climbed up on the big rock. The rock was tall and I had to hoist my leg up very high.
Oh! Could the lens have slipped out of my pocket? I would never have heard it land in the soft, thick marsh grass. I shudder, it was also right beside the water. What if it rolled in the lake?
"Do you want to go back and look?" Brent asked.
Oh, dear. backtrack 25 killometres on that dusty, washboard gravel road to look for something that may or may not be there? Even if I found it, would it be ruined?
"We're not buying another one," he said firmly.
I imagine life without a zoom lens. With it, I captured a grizzly bear and a framable portrait of a moose. I can't live without a zoom.
"Let's go back."
On the way, I'm considering the foxhole prayer: "Lord, if you can get me out of this situation, I will straighten up and fly right. Even if I totally left the lens somewhere, I know you can miraculously make it appear in the vehicle when I look again."
I blush. Asking God to suspend the laws of nature so that I can avoid the consequences of my own actions. Would I be able to remember where we had stopped? Would it be a wasted trip?
"Wait and see."
We both recognize the place. I reach through the thick marsh grass at the base of the rock. My hand plunges into water. Oh no. I pull the grass aside but can see nothing submerged. I move my hand out of the water and reach down again.
And there it is, my 18-300mm zoom lens, right at the base of the tall rock. Dry and intact. Hidden like a mallard's egg in a nest. Only a hands breadth away from the open water. I grasp it quickly, wrap it in my shirt and squish squash my way back through the marshy water to Brent. I hug him and cry out of sheer relief.
God had suspended the laws of nature. He made sure my failing memory worked so I could recall where to look. And both Brent and I stayed calm.
But from now on, I'm going to wear the camera bag, avoid tall rocks and be more patient at Tim Horton's.
|A shadow of my former self in Smuts Creek @ Mt. Engadine Lodge|