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Archive for August, 2011

William gets a leaner for two points

Two circles of orange lantern light on a backwoods road in Montana, with some 30 feet of utter darkness in between. We stand at one end helping to light a dull gray stake slanting up from the dirt and grass. Our partners take aim.

An arm goes swinging back once and then forward in a smooth arc, releasing a spinning red horseshoe. It might land next to the stake for a point, or even grab it for a ringer. Or it might just clock me in the shin. For an uncomfortable moment the horseshoe is hurtling invisibly toward us, trajectory unknown. By the time it emerges into our circle of light, it is too late to dodge out of the way. And that was the easy one. The next horseshoe is black.

Someone grumbles about the rules which we are not following. The stars wheel overhead past a narrow opening framed in tamarack and pine. And I am thinking about the grizzly watching us from a black forest; a giant who left her scat farther down this same road the day before. And there are cougars watching us because they are curious as well as hungry. And I am thinking about how this game must be even more difficult in the Shetland Islands, where it’s so terribly foggy and they have to make the best of it with those really tiny shoes.

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