Behind My House
I escaped my upper-middle-class lake house into the woods. Sometimes my St. Bernard, Houston, would come with me, but as he was getting really old, mostly it was just me, alone in the woods.
The rain and cold were my favorite time to be traipsing across the wilderness that was suburban Austin, except I wasn’t aware that these were the good times. I was sad, wet, and cold. I was also alone and escaping the sadness of the house of rough cedar and glass.
If the Fall had been wet there was always a small river running into the valley of my backyard and hitting the lake at the left side of the boat house. But mom had to rent out the boat house since the divorce. Jim was a former Army Red Cross helicopter pilot who saw action in Vietnam. He was great for me, as a friend, we were about the same age emotionally. I was in middle school. He was still in Viet Nam.
But the summer’s boating and tennis adventures with Jim had ended with the 27th straight day of rain. The creek behind the house was overflowing. Little barriers and slews I had created just last week were blown out and scattered downstream. It was just me and the rain and an old dog trying to keep up. No bills to pay. No work. Just an after-school escape room victory.
These moments cultivated my love of rain, loneliness, and dogs.
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