Barely There

My big dog Buddy and I have a SUPER secret spot at Secret Spot Park.  About a third of a mile down the road outside of the actual park entrance, this special haven is marked with a garbage can at a narrow opening in the fence.  Ranger Sam told us about it, and assured me it was safe, and actually part of the park property.  We go there at least once every two days so Buddy can run like the wind off leash and fetch the bumper across big sand flats and in the brackish water. Sometimes there are Latino people fishing right near the entrance where there are bare spots in shoreline of mangroves, but after about 50 yards, the entire mass acreage is devoid of human life.  If a person really wanted to escape from mankind and live off the land like a nomad, this would be the place to do it.

When we go there early in the morning, we can see hundreds of fiddler crabs scurrying back into their holes for shelter as we make our way down the sand trail.  The place looks like a haven for pigs, but no sightings yet.   Mangroves, sand and fingers of brackish waters make this an extraordinary place to run and play fetch for hours.  Buddy is always excited to go!  Me too, it’s great exercise for both of us. 

And today was no different.  Except for one small detail.

Buddy jumped out the back of the truck with his orange bumper in mouth, eager to get onto the sand trail.  Our rule is that he walks on leash for the first 100 yards in case there are any anglers trying for fish. Then when the coast is clear he can be off leash.  It’s looking like we’ve got the whole place as usual, and we start down the trail.

In an instant, a tan, human backside popped up out of a row of mangroves, about 50 yards ahead of us.

“Whoa!” I whisper to Buddy, and we freeze in place.  Hmmm. Looks like we may have come across a nomad.  What in the world do I do next?  Walk by like it’s no big deal?  What if this person is some sort of nut case or psychopath hiding from the law?  Do I want this person to end up between me and my truck?  I don’t think so.  Heck, maybe there’s more than one person in those mangroves!  The form was scrawny, skinny, and was sporting a head of long stringy matted gray hair.  Hard to guess the age of this person, but then..…while stretching and yawning, (completely oblivious that I was there) …the thin, tanned body turned around and…. eh-hem…clearly he was a man.

I quickly bent over as though picking up dog poop, hoping he would believe I did not see “him” in the raw.  When I stood up, the figure was gone, which presented me the perfect opportunity to gracefully back the hell out of there and get to the truck.

Which we did, to Buddy’s dismay.

That’s the last time we’ll be going to our SUPER secret spot.  I guess it isn’t so secret after all.  Anyone could be back in those mangroves living off the land and apparently they are.  Well, they’re barely there.

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