Surveyor’s Notebook, Summer 1969

I’m crossing a field that doesn’t belong to me, measuring out clumps of condemned trees and tracing heart-breaking outlines as yet unseen by those who live here. When, a surgeon without a scalpel, at five o’clock I walk away through the long leafy shadows, with the light itself stretched tight enough to strum the nerve chords, down my back I sense the looks that kill. I’ve hiked down into the shelter of a valley and I pause, uncertain, among sandy hillocks, listening under the evening clouds to hear where the first distress calls will come from. Silent and small as a star, a plane passes over and I watch its vapour trail striping the sky, chalky like a child’s drawing. Up there, strangers are travelling. One day, my friends, their hordes will descend amongst you. I’m still alone as I tramp towards the motel that awaits me for the night, an unknown traveller prepared to leave his sadness on the doorstep, dreaming of the dry quiet of barns filled with hay and flies.
                                                                                         
                                              — Pierre Nepveau (translated by Judith Cowan). From Mirabel, Signal 2004