When we moved into our home on 99 3/4 acres a family of beavers occupied a pond near the front drive. Our new neighbors brought over meals in foil. They said grace and offered to shoot the pests for us. The man asked what my calibre of long gun was.

Most of the trees on our land are walnuts; they turn yellow in September and leaf out in May. There are so many of them that the house does not need a windbreak. I can spot birds easily when they come through on their migrations.

The original owner who built our house had a vision of producing walnuts for profit. He died with his hatchet chopping firewood. His wife had taken to tapping his beloved trees for syrup while their daughter collected acorns for flour. You could make pancakes provided you boiled the nuts first. It was tapping time shortly after you heard the first cardinal in March.

When we lived in the city we’d go for coffee on Saturday afternoons. A latte and a ticket to a museum of dead European languages cost us $22 each. In the shadow of the new high rise condominiums, tales of urban coyotes evoked our sympathy. We followed with care rumours of foxes frolicking by the river.

After three years in this house, I have come to believe that the man who perished on a spot in the bush I can’t find does, in fact, belong here. As do the beavers. They have been missing for several seasons. I did not hear shots and have not heard any rumors. No-one local has sported a pelt.

I still have no rifle and I keep bird feeders. I regularly check the perimeter of our property for arsenic. I have given up meat.

This past winter a corner of the roof started to leak. My wife who is handier than I spotted it and was able to patch the hole. There is a plow in the garage we attached to our mortgage. My neighbors are curious to know when we will be attending church.

About the Author

Jeremy Nathan Marks is a London, Ontario-based writer and amateur photographer. Recent poetry, micro fiction, and photography appear/will be appearing in Poets Reading The News, Writers Resist, Microfiction Mondays, Unlikely Stories, KYSO Flash, The Local Train, The Conclusion, As It Ought To Be, Front Porch Review, Poetry Pacific, Cajun Mutt, Rat’s Ass Review, Derelict Magazine, The Wire’s Dream, and Eunoia Review. His short story, “Detroit 2099” will be published in Stories of the Nature of Cities 2099 Anthology in early summer. To view more of their work click below.