A truck had just pulled out from the well and I followed it up through the woods past the merciful dark of Augie’s house. I hadn’t been farther up Barlow Hill since the year I quit 84 Lumber. You learn the back roads driving a delivery truck. Then you forget. Dark and raining doesn’t help. The road climbed steadily. One-sided trees leaned in. Ahead brakelights flashed and bobbed like the truck had run over something. I slowed. Runoff had strewn stones, debris across the road. I geared down, eased over. When I looked up the truck was gone.
At the top of the hill the woods ended. Wide rolling fields fell away into night. Ahead a tall hedgerow, buckets hung from sugar maples. A Bobcat loader, stacks of blocky shapes defining as pallets of fieldstone wrapped in chickenwire. Remains of a wall older than the trees, picked for three hundred dollars a ton. The stones didn’t care. Why should I.