Noun & Verb

Imagine a shed – an inter-generational shed, filled with all the off-cuts of wood, lost screws, abandoned tools, faded dreams, unfinished projects, specks of light, motes of dust, bits of boats, unsuccessful fishing stuff, half-used paint pots, and the laconic lives and loves of Ben, now almost eighteen, his father (missing), his grandfather (legitimately dead), and the Old Bugger, who is Ben’s great-uncle, his sole remaining whanau, and legal guardian – though he’s more of a old, mostly kindly, merlin figure to the boy. Mind you he’s not going to survive this story.

It’s a shed with a view. It sits high on a bluff overlooking Rocky Bay, a south-facing inlet on a small island, just twelve miles into the morning sun from an adolescent city, lost in the far reaches of the South Pacific Ocean. So it’s also a story told in only one island – but one with, hopefully, a wider view.

From the roof of the shed, if you stand on tip toes and crane your neck to the right, beyond the yearning, over-reaching kanuka trees, you can see the impetuous spires of the brash young city, backlit in the evening light – but you’d never want to go up there specially to look that way. Instead, there’s the flow of the tide over the mauve mudflats, colours of infinite depths, the endless, repetitive sweep of time adjusted by twenty minutes each day, with all the living (and otherwise) things the tide brings in, the bush re-establishing itself on the far side of the bay, a kahu wheeling on the updrafts over Whakanewha, the clouds building over the channel and the distant Hunua Ranges – that’s what you’d rather meditate on.

That’s if you were Ben. Who is a slim, almost ascetic young man, who lives here, in a house just up from the shed, and not much tidier. But we reckon he spends almost equal time in the shed. He’s a poet – or trying to be. He’s an artist – or wants to be. Art - it’s a constant malady on this island he’s been born into. So many people think this of themselves, “I am an artist”, and the island allows them this. So that’s cool. Whether the wider world agrees, is another matter.

Ben finished school last year. Now doing? Nothing much in particular. Throughout this play, you’ll see, he is gently trying to seduce Our Amber in the shed. And then consummate things there. But he needs more style, less desperation. So, no joy, so far. But then, Amber is not running away, either. Not just yet.

Ben is planning to go away after the Old Bugger goes – it’s just that he doesn’t know where. But, these being islands, anywhere is overseas. He spends time in the shed working on his art – which is making paper flowers from discarded wrappers and torn-out magazine ads. In between, he watches us losing at cricket on TV. Very symbolic. Which most of his friends (well, all of them, since he has only a few) just don’t get. But at least his flower-arranging-art stuff lends sharp bites of bright colour to the otherwise sepia toning, and dust-softened outlines, of the rest of the shed.

So that’s Ben.

And if you were the Old Bugger, who has no time for cities, you wouldn’t bother to look, either. His life on the ships of the merchant navy was threaded through the greatest seaports of the world, like a stretched necklace of memories, each with a hole in, and bound by a sweated piece of polypropylene braid – all the necklace beads with the two-blue, two-part horizon of sea-and-sky (and not much talking) in between. His eyes, old now and misting over, carry untold millions of white caps, flecked from those seas, within them. And one, only one, beautiful woman from far ago. Perhaps all this is what gives his stooped shoulders such a sense of weight. What causes his legs to bow, what lends his walking stick a permanent bend, what makes his huge gnarled hands grip it so tight, and makes his steps so faltering these days.

But possibly, you’d want to gaze at that city if you’re Our Amber – for whom it will have to be her pull, her push, her emotional impetus, the only possible stage big enough for the drama of her life yet to unfold. The city will fill part of her life anyway, the bit coming next, after Ben. We’ll learn more about her soon.

And this story is also really a film, filled with images of a profound, slow-moving beauty. Images you’ll make up, and paint indelibly on the screen inside your head, as you go. Just like the people of this island, even the stories here have dreams of greater selves. So this story is a movie too. You are welcome to colour it in.

We start with a broad shot, from high up on the hill, the tide is out, the sumptuous golden light of the evening in these latitudes giving the sky, the hills, the bush, the mudflats, a four-part harmony – a waiata – to colours you’d cry over if you ever flew away from them.

Then a long, slow zooming in on three tiny figures out there, near silhouettes, one carrying a bucket of pipis. Wandering home. The camera makes it seem it’s the shed that’s doing the watching. There’s no-one else around.

And it, the Shed, sees all what we’ve described. The zoom reveals the three figures as Ben, the Old Bugger, and the Dog. Details of faces are lost in the thickening light. There is no dialogue in this scene.

The are standing around a enormous coil of wrist-thick rope, higher than the dog, an anchor or towing warp discarded by a fishing boat long ago enough for barnacles and tiny mussels to be growing in the folds of the fibres. The tide dropped it here this morning.

The Old Bugger, who never lets anything nautical go to waste, tells Ben to get it back to the shed. He motions, once, twice; Ben shakes his head. The old man’s final gesture is irrefutable.

We see Ben shrug, hand over the pipis, and jog off out of frame, his trainers sparkle-splashing in shallow tide puddles, catching the evening light. Dog follows for three, maybe four jog-strides, but then decides the Old Bugger’s pace is preferable. Camera holds still: then they move out of shot too.

There’s a pause. The evening goes about its evening business. We see Ben re-appear with a soft-wheeled boat trolley, and load up the rope. It’s a hassle, and takes him some time. Imagine a spaghetti piece a hundred yards long, sticky, and smelling of the sea, with sharp barnacle bits, and all tangled up with bits of seaweed. Ben tangles it more as he bundles it in. But finally, he’s also on his way back.

By now it’s dark, and a fingernail moon has levered itself over the hills. The warm light from the shed window gives him and the cart a path home across the mudflats. We hear him huffing and puffing. The trolley creaks. Two black oystercatchers, flying home, make their staccato cries. A morepork calls from up in the trees by the shed. The rope says nothing.

So. We’ve met Ben and the Shed and the Old Bugger and the Dog so far, and briefly mentioned Our Amber. And come across the rope. Our story is almost set. Perhaps we should flesh out some of the characters more:

The Shed – it’s a personality in its own right, so it needs more description. It talks: it squeaks and creaks in the wind. And sometimes it says other things, unexpectedly, as if it has other voices. It sneezes too, whenever something inside it, or one of its dwangs or nogs or roofbeams, shifts subtly. It eats up time. It loves human company, and can be undemanding in this way. It also absorbs every bit of old hardware you can stuff in it, as if the bits and bobs are all nourishment for it. It walks – well slowly – ever-so-gently subsiding down the hill. But it’s taking its time, and the rampant jasmine (a weed in these parts) attached to the back wall, is half holding it up, half anchoring it to the slope. Ben and the Old Bugger know this, and leave the weed to its supporting role. The Shed: it’s dusty, crowded with old tools, old bits of everything, including other peoples’ lives, an old TV on the workbench (once was colour – now the picture is pale brown), and an old couch covered in a crocheted squares blanket, once bright, now holey. The shed has a dusty, earthen floor, with a few oil stains from old, irascible outboard motors.

Our Amber – for now, we know she is quick-witted, quite lovely in a super-confident-sixteen-year-old kind of way, and extra-ordinarily creative and perceptive. But she is also a vocal critic of Ben’s poetry. The shed is a retreat for her, from the pressures of parental expectation – and how well her exam results will stack up. She thinks she is destined to be an actor, although she’s better at maths. Does she love Ben? Even I don’t know. Amber certainly hasn’t got that figured out yet.

The Dog – grizzled, of nondescript breed, lazy. World-class farter. Later his ghost comes to inhabit the Shed. It moves in with the others already there, and tries to stink them out.

A cat – A stranger. It doesn’t get a name. Moves in after the Dog, and takes over the couch. Sometimes seems spooked by the ghost of Dog. Or is it the others?

Mrs Light – Amber’s mum. She makes but a cameo appearance at the door of the shed. She wouldn’t come inside – too dusty. But we do see on her fine self an extensive investment in cosmetics, and perhaps a boob job (but we’re not sure, we needed more time to scrutinise), in the brief glimpse we have of her. She does real estate, and does quite well out of it. It’s been that way on the island recently, since it got discovered.

Another woman – Melanie Watson, a real-estate agent, a competitor of Amber’s Mum.

And Bogon – a mate of Ben’s, and another secret amour of Our Amber. He makes no appearance in the film – we only hear him and his motorbike, and get scraps of shouted conversations from outside the shed. He’s always in a hurry somewhere, but that’s probably just an excuse for revving up the bike, a near-classic one-pot thumper, almost reliable, definitely noisy. But you can imagine him coming and going, kicking up clouds of dust from miles away, if you feel the need to take this story outside.


So, to start, again:

The full moon sails behind whipping trees, behind the glass of a moving car. Two people driving recklessly, silently. Suddenly the car slows, turns into a steep driveway crowded with greenery, and two thin strips of concrete glistening in the night. There are two dim buildings further up.

The slatted wooden door creaks open. A fumble for a switch, an electric light, bare bulb on a piece of card snaps on. It reveals were are in the the Shed – dusty, over-full, eclectic. Boat bits, lawnmower bits, well-used tools, an old couch along one wall.

A couple enters, wearing evening clothes. Ben and Amber, back from the High School Prom. Ben in a rumpled suit, Amber, stunning in black, high heels, pearls. She has a corsage made from one of Ben’s flowers. He throws his jacket on the dusty couch so she can sit, clicks on the radio - soft late night bossanova jazz emanates. He perches on the arm of the couch.

Ben says: Well?
Amber: How was it? Being back?
Ben: The smell -
Amber: - the smell?
Ben: The smell of a school hall. You’ll never get it out. No amount of crepe paper, decorations, hairspray, underarm. The smell of years and years of teenage sweat - it’s in the walls - you’ll never get it out.
Amber: Well, that was interesting. I thought I looked great -
Ben: Astonishing... (but he’s not looking at her, he spotted a small offering, arranged shrine-like on the work bench. A bottle of champagne, two glasses, a plate of pikelets under a cover. Moves over to it, fingers it gently, then laughs softly to himself) The Old Bugger...He’s always thinking of you. I reckon he wishes - (stops, looks hard at her, as if suddenly noticing) God, you do look great – I almost wish I was back at school with you.
Amber: (smiles indulgently, dreamily) Funny old thing…
Ben: Not old -
Amber: Not you. Him. The Old Bugger. What would you do without him?
Ben: I’d be off to Belize. Or Costa Rica. Or the Mountains of the Moon. Boof! Outta here. Just like that.
Amber: What for?
Ben: The flowers in the forest! The colours! The birds! – amazing.
Amber: You’d go all that way for that?
Ben: It’s my art –
Amber: You’re one mad fish, Ben Boyd…
Ben: - and you’re my crazy sea…. (pause) Anyway, it’s the Caribbean for me -
Amber: With what money?
Ben: (Slumps ever so slightly, beaten again. Starts opening the champagne) The Dog comes in and climbs up on the couch next to Amber, flops down. She accepts this unquestioningly, and ruffles his ears. He slobbers over her, sighs, puts head on her lap. Dog lifts one eyebrow, no more, as Ben returns with the glasses.
Ben: Oi! (aimed at the Dog)
Amber: Shh…. I’ll kiss you goodnight later. (She tenderly removes the flower from her frock – we can see it’s one of Ben’s creations – and places it carefully on the arm of the couch.) Later he recites to her, softly, standing, sometimes eyes closed, as if to remember the lines. At one point she interrupts him
Amber: C’mere. (Hold her arms up towards him, waggles her fingers.)
Ben: Not finished. (Talking about the poem)
Amber: You’re putting me to sleep. I need to say thanks. For tonight.
Ben: Right. (Suddenly enlightened; comes across to kiss her. Very gently. She holds his chin, then pushes him softly away. Camera close – warm light of candle behind their lips.)

Ben continues the reciting. Camera slowly zooms out. She falls asleep He tenderly rearranges the jacket. Carefully removes the corsage from the couch. Covers her. She snuggles down. The dog farts.

Ben sits back and watches her for a while, then stands at the door of the shed to watch the dawn. The camera fades as the light comes up.


The big mess of rope, salvaged from the beach, now sits in the middle of the floor of the shed, taking up most of the space. The dog thinks it’s quite a good couch – tries it once – but not as good as the real couch he’s used for years.

The Old Bugger insists that they finish untangling it. Ben tries arguing, but it’s final.

The Old Bugger dies – “A good innings,” says Ben, but only after his body has been taken.

Here’s how our film will show it:

The Old Bugger enters the shed. He flicks through the stack of magazines - they are mostly Homes & Gardens type. Down the pile, he finds a racy bloke's magazine. He stretches on the couch, begins looking. Falls asleep with magazine opened on his face.

Ben enters softly, not waking him. The Old Bugger remains still.

Ben works on a new flower. Stops, takes a closer look at the cover of the magazine on the Old Bugger's face, an overt cleavage of obviously silicone breasts. Ben smiles and says quietly, “You dirty old man”. He gently tears the cover away, and starts making a flower with it. He likes the effect achieved in the additional folds in the paper. He looks back at the Old Bugger, who hasn’t moved.

A long, slow, bubbling fart escapes the Old Bugger. Soon after, Ben wrinkles his nose, waves his hand in front of his face, mimes “Phoaar” and wanders out of the shed.

Light changes to evening. The Dog precedes Ben into the shed. The magazine has slipped halfway off the Old Bugger’s face. We see one watery eye, staring. Ben gently shakes the Old Bugger. But discovers him dead.

He phones Amber on the shed's landline phone.

Mrs Light answers, passes the phone to Amber, who's face falls as news is revealed. We see her miming “Dial one-one-one” with her finger; and then saying she’ll be there soon. She rushes out, gathering up a jacket.


The body is returned to the old man’s ancestral marae in a far part of the country. Ben feels left out of the process. A bunch of old kuia he’s never met, a formidable phalanx, each with hips like shipping containers, come take the old man and his spirit. The complications of Ben’s father’s side of the family intrude.

The Dog dies one week later – “Run out by his batting partner,” says Ben.

He buries the dog in the middle of the floor of the shed – it seems appropriate – and shifts the big tangle of rope back to cover it.

We interrupt Ben digging a small grave in the middle of the shed.

Amber comes in softly: Oh Ben… (she says, tenderly).
He stops, briefly hugs her, wipes sweat from his head. Takes a swig at a bottle of cider, hands it abstractly to her.
Amber: Ugh! Homebrew.
Ben: ‘Spose I’d better finish his stock. Before it explodes.
Amber: Will you start farting like him too?
Ben: (Snorts, half heartedly, half funnily. Starts reciting in a broad accent) Oi loike cider…

An awkward silence. Amber goes to flop on the couch, as if by force of habit. Stops when she sees the covered lump on the couch. Looks quickly, understated anguish on her face, at Ben.

Ben: (Shakes his head, just once) One week later. Like an old couple...I hope they don’t make them work too hard in the happy hunting ground.
Amber: (Twisting her hands, standing awkwardly apart from Ben, looking down. Then, trying to make light of things,) I wonder, will they let him make his brew there?
Amber: …wherever there is…
Ben: (Starts digging again) I wonder: Do they take smelly dogs there? Amber: Old men, old dogs, same difference. (Pause) Did the brew kill him?
Ben: Nah. Long innings, that’s all.

Long pause. Ben continues digging. Amber lifts the blanket has a quick look at the dog.

Amber: I ‘spose the old bugger’s death killed him. Funny old things. Everywhere together.
Ben: (Nods affirmatively, says reflectively) Except buried…
Amber: I’ll cook you a meal. Got the stuff. (She holds up a supermarket bag)
Ben: Your -? (meaning, parents)
Amber: I told them already. They’ll fetch me later.
Ben: Nah. I’ll walk you home. Got a poem about the stars.
Amber: (Smiles at him tenderly) Whatever…(She does the W-E gesture)

She touches him on the shoulder, her forearm resting briefly against his upper arm, then gathers her supermarket bag of ingredients; lets herself out into the evening light. She calls out as she’s walking away – We’ll eat here, I’ll bring it down.

Ben replies: Keep the dog company.

Later, it’s meal time, they’re just finishing; eating in quiet companionship. They eat surprisingly well, with tablecloth, bottle of wine, nice-looking food. Sitting in the shed, with a folding table placed over the grave of the dog, which is right in the middle. Suddenly she takes the scarf out of her hair, rips it into small strips. He looks up startled Ben looks at her slack jawed, quizzically.

Amber: Make some flowers for him.
Ben: Wha-
Amber: Make some flowers for him, too!
Ben: (Takes the scraps, starts folding them around his fingers) Good ol’ dog.


Next day, a new scene: We pan across shed. There’s an opened letter on the workbench. The freshly filled grave in the middle of the shed, with its fabric flowers. Ben is working at the tangled mass of rope.

Amber enters, wearing school uniform.

Ben: It’s kinda like zen (smiles, ruefully, gesturing at the rope tangle)
Amber: Time to think.
Ben: Yer. New poems…
Amber: God, no! (Rolls her eyes, mock playfully. She throws her bag down on the couch. She looks at the TV - a cricket game is on) Who’s winning?
Ben: Not us.
Amber: ‘Course. I don’t know why you bother. Why they bother. The women are better.
Ben: (Smiles, snorts) Another kind of art - the zen of losing. Of blowing chances.
Amber: You’re the experts - oh, shit, I’m sorry, I meant men, all men, not you.
Ben: It happens. (He doesn’t appear hurt)

There’s quiet for a while, then Amber spots the letter: Whassat?

Ben: (Looks up) Hnh?

She gestures with her head, starts to get up to retrieve it.

Ben: An interesting development. (Soft emphasis on ‘interesting’)
Amber: (Reading it, quizzically smiling, shaking her head, half laughing.) Interesting …yeah. (And she locks eyes with him, smiling and shaking her head slowly, indulgently.)

So, we see, Ben is delivered a letter with the Old Bugger’s will. It says he must first finish anything he has promised his elders, before doing what he wants to in life. He will inherit the beachfront property, including the shed, which has suddenly become very desirable to Mrs Light and her kind. Ben is suddenly, more than a millionaire. In theory. There is also enough money for that air ticket for Ben’s big OE.


Another woman appears at the door of the Shed, a real-estate agent, a competitor of Amber’s mother.

Amber and her stare at each other. Ben’s not there - he’s out having a pee

Amber says: He’s still gotta pee, you know.
The Other Woman: What do you mean?
Amber: Even with all his property now, a bloke’s still gotta leak. Maybe more so - must mark the corner posts (she turns, talks over her shoulder, mimes shaking off)
The Other Woman: (holds out a buisness card) Melanie Watson. If he wants to sell.
Ben (arriving suddenly behind her): I don’t. Not yet.

What he must do first is untangle the rope. The Old Bugger said so. As Ben struggles with the loss of the Old Bugger and the Dog, a cat moves into the shed to keep him company as he works on the rope. It purrs like a jetski with sugar in its tank.

Amber also comes to spend more time with him – partly as support for her sensitive friend, partly to escape the attentions of her parents. She wants to be an actor, or an astrophysicist, or both, if she can combine the roles: the relics want her to join them in their real estate office. They think she will be a great saleswoman. There are tensions between Amber and her mother, made worse by Mrs Light’s apparent breakdown when her husband (who we never meet) is charged with real-estate fraud – photoshop-doctoring pictures, making beaches appear closer than they really are. Ben and Amber talk a lot in the shed, but I’m not going to repeat all of what they said – it’s their own private stuff. But here’s a snippet, a conversation about Amber’s parent’s dreams, and her resistance to them:

Amber: Maybe I should just get pregnant -
Ben:(stops suddenly and turns from his flower arrangement, says hopefully) I’ll help!
Amber: I’ll decide.

In the middle of all this, some mysterious someone starts re-tangling the rope Ben is working on. Often, in the mornings, it’s back where he was the night before. But that’s cool. These knots in time are gentle and accommodating as.

Bogon calls around, lots.

The scene is usually this: it’s late afternoon, there are cups of tea, going cold, and gingernuts on the work bench; there’s an unfinished paper flower piece behind, there’s the cat hunched, purring on the bar stool, there’s Ben and Amber sitting on the couch, one knee each touching, there’s a school bag, there are crumpled travel magazines, half-made flowers, there’s a radio playing softly, dustily. You hear Bogon pull up in a shower of gravel, and a skitter of pebbles flung against the half-open garage door. You see some of the dust waft into the shed. He yells “You coming to the beach/Carly’s place/the dirt track/the footie/ the Lazy Lounge?” They say “Nah, we’re right, thanks.” And he roars off, “Seeyah!” He never blows the hooter on the bike, because it doesn’t work. And anyway that’s only what tourists in little yellow Vespas do. Amber smiles at Ben, and touches his shoulder, and sometimes gets up to fetch the tea.

As she does this, our camera climbs lovingly up the endless home-made shelves lining the walls of the shed, taking in all the details, all the collected contents (brass screws winking through old glass jars), up past the things hanging on nails, past the cobwebbed windows, the tendrils of jasmine edging in between the planks, to a goon-size marble resting in a comfortable bed of thick sandpaper sawdust on top of an old biscuit tin (which because you can’t see inside, I must tell you contains antique bronze bits from a boat that sank in 1973), on the very top shelf. It seems precarious there, but is still, for now.


We see Ben fitting a Wearable Arts creation on Amber. It’s made of his paper and silk flowers.

Amber unselfconsciously slips off her top to allow him to fit the garment. He’s focused on pinning and fitting the outfit. The cat watches. Amber is enjoying the attention, and absorbing the creative spirit of the scene.

We see a close-up of the Ralph flower, singled out as part of a headpiece for her. She puts it in place, intently.

But the garment is a bit loose. Ben casts around for something to gather it at Amber’s waist. She gestures to the rope.

He quickly cuts a piece, and unwraps one strand of the rope to get a thinner piece. Then experimentally tries it as a belt. Ties a loose looping bow. Stands back, looks. Shakes his head, no, unties it and tosses it aside.

Camera follows the flight of the scrap of rope, and we get a glimpse of the second letter, opened.

Ben playfully plucks at Amber’s bra strap, revealed by the bare shoulders of the dress.

Ben: We’ll lose that on the night…

Amber: Yeah, yeah. Just dress me properly, willya?


Of course the rope must eventually be untangled. And we see it slowly becoming an orderly coil, laid up in one corner of the shed.


We’re getting to the end of our film. Ben and Amber ride Bogon's motorbike to the mudflats. She has the long, flat garment box across her knees.

Ben carries the box out across the shellbanks to the incoming tide, and Amber takes out the garment.

She holds it up to the evening light. Sun filters through it.

Amber says: Runner-up, hey? Not bad!
Ben: ...try harder. Must try harder...
Amber: Maybe more flowers?
Ben (emphatically): No! Less.

The water begins to cover their feet. Amber lays the garment in the water. It's softly agitated by the small waves and slowly disintegrates. The camera lingers, as the surface of the water engoldens (the low evening sunlight), and the water itself does the same (dissolving the painted bits of the garment).


Here is where fiction must intrude; a sense of time and space that is not real. For we must accept that a few days have passed - not many, for we can tell by the ambient light, the sense of the temperature and atmosphere that we are still closely within the same season. But we are aware, that like this particular season, this part of the story of Ben and Amber is drawing to a close.


Our closing scene is in the same evening light we first encountered. It’s a moon and a half later, so now it’s almost full. And it’s rising more to the left now of the hill above Woodside Bay. In the shed, the rope coil is neatly finished. Where will it go? We don’t know.

Our camera work becomes ever so discreet. So we see our two young friends on the couch with the crocheted squares rug that once was bright, we see them briefly, but do note fingers intertwined, and skin toned golden and lovely by youth, dreams and the summer past, revealed in places as yet un…

And so the camera does its usual thing looking at the shelves instead, slowly panning upwards.

But focus is more difficult this time, because there’s a slight shuddering to the shed. Something is moving, something is happening.

By the time we see the lost goonie on the top shelf, the shaking is subtly intensifying, as are voices, soft yet urgent, but not at all grumpy, oh no.

The marble starts to move, slowly at first, inhibited by the dust, and our camera lens is transfixed. But then the marble drops off the edge of the tin, through a channel made by an old ding, and begins a remarkable ride, impelled by something it cannot know, but something it must respond to. It surely has an itinerary it will follow.

We follow as accurately as any living eye, as it hops from on shelf to another, along a ruler angled here, down a spade bit there, across the top of a small wooden box, slowed down by a linseed oil rag that should have been put outside, along the sawblade of a retired skillie, across (surprisingly) the forehead of a dozing cat, between its ears and down a nose between fluttering lids, along the workbench a ways, plopping down on the tops of stacked paint pots (a tidy little Caribbean-style percussive number), then the softer thudlet of landing on a cardboard box of garden irrigation fittings, and finding its way as if by magic luck into the mouth of a short off-cut of hose pipe, to disappear for a while (but we know it’s still moving in there, we trust this force of gravity) and land softly, with a sigh (seeming louder than a marble normally would, a sigh strangely human) and the tiniest puff of dust, in the middle of the softer earth that marks where the old dog was laid.

And then to rest as if all is done.