A few days ago I lost a lens cap. It was deep in the phantom woods where Rip Van Winkle once napped. At the time, I figured I’d just get a new one. Then I discovered that a replacement would cost 35 bucks, assuming I could even find one that was available. No luck. So yesterday I decided to go back into the phantom woods and look for the lost lens cap. To cajole the collie puppy into coming along, I promised him a treasure hunt. He liked that idea. I took the unsheathed camera along for good measure. Off we went.
The plan was to retrace the route from the other day. I had no map but memory. The way led through places nobody frequents anymore—not even the sunshine. We walked and we walked and we walked. We kept a close eye on the ground. We saw lots of rocks and lichens and leaf duff. The occasional drop of an acorn sounded like a faraway footstep in the phantom woods. I kept looking over my shoulder. For his part, the collie puppy kept his nose on the task. The search continued. It went on for a long time. Nothing. I was ready to give up.
We drew near a pair of dying hemlocks. Suddenly the collie puppy just sat down and gave a little bark. He had found the lens cap! Right where I must have dropped it the other day. What luck! I picked it up and placed it over the camera lens where it belonged. We started for home.
Along the way I kept marveling at my luck. My luck didn’t like that. It ran off without warning. Oh well, soon enough somebody else’s luck showed up. Somebody named Warren. Warren’s luck must have been wandering around this lonely place for a long time. It spotted us and decided to tag along. Who wouldn’t? It gets lonely out there in the phantom woods.
Warren’s luck did not have much to say. More time passed. At last the collie puppy sat down again and gave another little bark. Had he found my errant luck? On the ground amid the decaying leaves was something shiny. I picked it up. It was a silver dog tag pendant. The inscription read: “All my love, Warren.” I turned to Warren’s luck for an explanation. It was nowhere to be seen, run off like my own.
I looked at the collie puppy. He was tired and wanted nothing to do with this discovery. All he cared about was getting home. That’s when I remembered something an old teacher of mine once said: “Consider the gift of luck as below the care of a wise man.” I put the silver dog tag pendant back on the ground where I found it. But not before I removed the lens cap from the camera and took this picture. Then we went home.