Range of Shelter in Place
The Range of Shelter in Place is commonly referred to as the “Sanguines,” though the origin of this is uncertain. Most likely it is a color reference; the prevalence of iron oxide in the groundwater makes area puddles & beaver ponds red-brown with rust.
It must have been home once, for a time. For some. The ruins of old homesteads litter the trail—none closer than a league apart, for the Sanguines above all articulate the imperative of distance.
Cellar holes. Moss-worn walls of stone. Broken carriage harness. Bits of tools of unknown purpose. Chipped china.
Sanguine is a pigment but also a mood: blithe. Cheerful. Optimistic—not the first words to come to mind. In summer, the air is viscous with black flies, a constant, needling bite. & in winter—
Two centuries back, a rebel army sent an advance guard through the Sanguines en route to Harding Pass. A mountain campaign is never wise in winter—poor roads, limited food supply. Imagine the cold. The impassable snow. Sacrifice of toes, fingers, flesh of the face. Clothes frozen to the torso from the crossing of chest-high rivers. All the horses dead, hypothermic or starved. Imagine the wind. The wolves. The long dark.
Iva Linwood wrote in her diary of the homesteaders’ long confinement—of a snowbound shelter suffused with dread. “It is the dread of laps,” she wrote. “Of strangers you have been told to call uncle.
“It is the dread of enemies whose bodies remain unfound.”