Photo (C) Phil Schermeister

The sun slanted at the late autumn angle. The horses picked their way over the canal and out into the field, the hay cut low from the farmer’s plow, the fallow littered on the frosty earth. Andi and I rode in silence. It was too cold to have anything to say, still, the light was deceiving, reflecting a warm gold, red, rust on the mountain that towered above us. The horses coats were thickening in preparation for the snows that would soon come. We rode without saddles, our jeans filthy with horse hair and sweat, and we clung to the manes of our mounts.

“Look at the birds” I commented.

Hundreds of starlings picked at the seed planted for a spring crop, the contrast of their black bodies on the hay. We looked at each other and grinned. We both knew. Without another word we pushed the horses to an easy canter, and raced straight for the birds. As we reached the edge of their flock they rose like a black wave to the sky. Then in confusion, not willing to leave their gluttonous meal, not wanting to settle to earth, they swirled – a black circle spinning, spinning around us. The horses pulled up to a stop. We sat quiet on their backs, waiting for the sky to be calm again.

Eventually our stillness induced the birds to land. And then the farmers truck came bouncing over the dirt road. We could tell from a block away that we were in trouble – running our horses through his freshly planted field; we turned back, bracing for the stern lecture to come.

But I still remember sitting, my legs warm with the horse, dizzy from the birds, thinking it was like flying in a dream.




I’m going to try and write down memories I have – for my little lovelies who always ask “Tell me a story of when you were a kid . . .”

I’m going to call them “Tales for Tuesdays” – and will try to write one a week . . . unless of course something else happens. In which case I won’t.

3 comments on “Swirling

I absolutely love to read your writings. You make it so I can totally picture what you are doing and feel like we are right there with you. Such Talent!!!

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