“I thought I’d take a walk today. It’s a mistake I sometimes make.” — Nick Cave

I always take a walk in the woods on Thanksgiving morning. Normally it’s cold and gray. This story took place a couple days earlier, during Thanksgiving week, and it was a bright sunshiny day, but still… the feel of the late autumn air… dark mysteries… spirits loose in the wood… felt like Thanksgiving to me.

I took some pictures. Nothing special. After all the time I’ve spent lately photographing hurricane devastation and Gaza protests, I was just out to appreciate some beauty, perhaps make some pretty pictures, or none at all. No matter.

The above image is the reflection of an old bridge and fall foliage. Beautiful, huh? Kind of has that Hudson River School vibe.

Here’s a man walking some dogs.

A secret garden.

But, as is my wont, if not curse, I was attracted by a dark mystery. School papers scattered in the lake.

I wondered what happened? Did the student get bad grades? Did he or she quit school?

Did bullies or thugs take the binders and throw them in the lake?

I waded out in the lake and looked at the pages. Mostly homework, but then there was this. An explanation, perhaps?

Meanwhile, I eventually notice a loud, long wail from the woods across the lake. A loud keen that had been going on for some time. I get lost in concentration when I’m doing photography, and I’m in Brooklyn so it’s not all that unusual to hear someone wailing, but once I started paying attention, I realized that the guy was experiencing a whole different level of pain. It was horrendous. And it went on and on. Most of the screams were unintelligible, but every now and then I could make out a few words. For example, I distinctly heard “she’s gone,” followed by a truly heart-wrenching keen, and then “forever.”

So much pain in the woods these days. I continued on, went back to appreciating the pretty kinds of beauty. The beautiful day. The fall foliage. The trees.

Couldn’t help but notice the fetters.

But some days it’s best not to look too closely. Best to just be thankful for the good things.

Today is that day.


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