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by Myfanwy Collins


A road of dirt and stone led past a dusty-drived, red house on the right. On the left, a barbed fence wrapped carelessly around a brawny tree that pointed to a field of mown hay. A doe stopped in her tracks as she passed over the road, saw me, snorted and moved on through a hole in the fence.

(That winter, we walked through the snowy fields just behind the trees. We followed the fence line and laughed at how far our feet sank. We did not worry about being shot by an orange vested hunter).

The sheep farmer was quiet and young and he could have been my friend. Though he and I never spoke, I heard the voices of his animals every day and every night. I listened for them. The coy-dogs stayed by his fence and sang us (the farmer, me and you and the sheep) to sleep at night until we were startled, all of us, by the ringing gunshot followed by the absence of song.

I grew a tall garden of corn and sunflowers, tomatoes and pumpkins and lettuce and cucumbers and radishes all in tidy raised rows. More vegetables than we would ever need. So many that some rotted on the vine. But the garden was patiently weeded each day.

And there were mourning doves that sat on the roof and watched me take in my laundry from the line in that moment that was perfection. You were standing with the hood up on your car but we both stopped, looked up at the roofline and waited until the wind picked up. Nothing was ever the same after that.

And there was the sound of the bird in the woods that is only in the woods. HEE hee hee hee, HEE hee hee hee and who are you? And who are you?

And there were the Northern Lights - the Aurora Borealis twice that summer - late and so high in the sky that I almost drove off the road. What is it? What is that?

(They say not to whistle when you see the lights or the spirits will cut off your head and play ball with it).

The stars and black, black sky, the peepers and the quiet make me wonder what I am doing here in this land of weed whackers and lawn mowers and engines always engines burning and buzzing and burning and buzzing and making a short life shorter.

But here and now it is spring again.

The daffodils rise, wetted with your blood. They raise their happy faces to the sun and say, here I am. The grass greens and the tulips push their way up and out.

The forsythia is in bloom.

This is what I remember now.


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