The Log

When the Timfingels moved in there wasn’t a log. But after a few weeks, it just appeared one morning. The neighborhood had never seen anything like it, over six feet in diameter and twelve feet long, the enormous bottom trunk of a virgin forest tree. Truly primeval.

The Tinfingels didn’t have kids and didn’t come to neighborhood parties. You’d see them at the grocery store—Matt and Carol—seeming happy, but not necessarily approachable. Her long blond hair in a sleek ponytail and him dressed all in black.

For five years the log sat along their driveway. When you watched Donna Stevens learn to ride her long board, there it sat. When the Lorats’ dog got hit by a car, it was right there in the back of the scene. Stationary. Looming. Its massive end just feet from the sidewalk.

We all counted the rings, and it took a while. One hundred and thirteen.

And then one day early in the year, when everybody cleans up their gardens but before they plant flowers; when the crocuses emerge and the robins come to pilfer last summer’s berries; when a chilly early walk can be a perfect walk, we all got up and headed out for the day, and the log was turned.

The log—with more mass than a couple of cars—was turned 180 degrees and now sat across the driveway, making pulling into the Timfingels’ garage impossible. Their ancient blue jaguar now occupied the street, looking quite cast out.

When the log had lain along the driveway, thrusting itself toward the sidewalk, we had come to think of it as common property. But when it was moved perpendicular to the driveway, closer to the house, it didn’t seem to belong to the neighborhood anymore, and it gave us a sort of chill as we walked by, like a giant’s corpse.

None of us had heard or seen anything, and it was quickly agreed it would’ve taken a huge truck to move the monstrous thing. Yet there it sat. Unmovable, but moved. We all wondered why and kept wondering for ten more years.

Until last week.

A large moving truck came, and after a flurry of activity with movers coming in and out, Matt and Carol Timfingel got into their poor exiled Jaguar and drove off before anybody could wish them luck and ask where they were going.

And the log stayed right there, blocking the garage.

So we all wondered what would become of it when the new owners showed up, ready to reclaim access to the garage. We debated how they would move it, with thick chains and a bulldozer, or an army of men with chainsaws.

What we didn’t expect was what happened. For the very next morning after the Timfingels left, we woke up and watered our gardens, and took our morning walks, and drove to work with a huge sense of something lost, because the log was gone.

Tethered By Letters

First published in Tethered by Letters.