The fall is holding out against the winter, trees clutching bright leaves before the chill breaks their grips. It’s wonderfully warm among such colours, and we walk in the valleys of Appalachia to take in the smell of mountain air as rustic hands around us work livestock and soil. In old Aramaic, Damascus means “a well-watered place”, a fitting name as the rain soon grows too heavy to be exploring the tiny town, population 981.
A baby-faced farm hand with a grey Polo t‑shirt stretched across his pot-bellied frame asks us what we’re taking pictures of as he dips a thin sandwich (consisting solely of two slices of meat and two slices of toast) into a shallow bowl of beans. He recounts to us the two weeks he was in Western Canada working for a large cattle corporation, and the thickness of his southern drawl betrays the rurality of his upbringing, typical of many around here.
Every day the sun rises, I grow a little stronger. The blood in my bruise has spread along the surface, and the sharpness of this particular pain reminds me that I’m still alive. As the yellow-blue stain fades away, it’s a small comfort to know I’m always healing, whether I’m aware of it or not.