Saturday, October 26, 2013

In the Frame 2

I love pictures – the capture of a moment in time that somehow looks nothing like the movement of the moment into the next and the next, but still catches something – elusive.  When I see other folks’ pictures, I often try to guess at what’s going on, like people watching at the airport and trying to guess what they’re about.

So here’s one for you.

There’s a woman on her knees with three dogs around her.  She smiles, holding a piece of paper in one hand and leashes in the other.  It’s a beautiful day of sunshine.  In the background are stacks of long weather-worn wooden planks, a couple of plastic lawn chairs, a fence.  On the other side of the fence stands another woman with a folded flag draped over her left arm, peering into the frame.

Write or imagine your own story about the picture.  Who are the women?  What is the woman doing with the dogs?  Why is there a piece of paper in her hand?  What are the wooden planks for?  And what of the woman on the other side of the fence?  Why is she on the other side?  Why is she holding a flag?  Why isn’t the other woman acknowledging her?

What on earth is going on here?

[Your imagining]

So here’s the story of the picture – it’s pretty prosaic, really.  But when I look at it, backing away from what I know, I am struck by the positioning of the two women with the fence between them.

On a warm October Saturday, Rhet was at the Post Office, filling in for Glenna, as is their Saturday custom.  It’s getting toward the end of her Saturday shift at mid-day and Rhet has come out and taken the flag down for the day.  Still carrying it, she walked across the parking lot of the Post Office and then across the only partly-mown field beside it to stand at the fence that separates my back yard from the field, flag still cradled in her arm.  

We are having our annual Animal Blessing Service and Dot Terry sits on the ground with some of her dog buddies, reading from a piece of paper I had given her earlier – a scripture, a reflection, on the blessings bestowed by God upon all creation.

It is a beautiful day and we have done this eight times now, but this year is different – we had a parade through town, which set a light-hearted tone to an already celebratory event – folks move about and Dot sits and frolics with the dogs and all is well.

What’s outside the frame are the other folks calling out to Rhet to come and join us and Rhet saying she can’t yet – her shift isn’t over.  What’s outside the frame is Rhet coming a while later into the church parking lot after most of the folks had already headed home, with a dog in her truck beside her to be blessed – this dog one she’s caring for as part of her new business venture.

Dog blessed, shift over, Rhet heads home, but not before she got captured in the frame, even from the other side of the fence.

It was a good day – might have been perfect, but Dot reminded us that the dogs were pretty upset that they didn’t get communion.

Next year.


  1. thank you - never been in a written tale- what fun for my ego! Beth is the heroine of the tale (tail), blessing animals and all in the story of us all. - also Dot, who saves souls, too.

    1. Isn't great when we're all in the story together? Another blessed day in the Highlands. Thanks & blessings