A Moment on the Farm

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There are days when I wonder how I got here and what I’m doing here. Then there are nights when I know why I’m here and what I’m doing here. On a farm, in Virginia, in complete silence, not a light in any direction. 

Lightning bugs blink, a deer grazes on the other side of the garden, not knowing I’m here. Peepers, I think they are peepers, clatter across the backfield, like pianos in the distance. Louder than crickets, their sounds tumble out, consistent, resolute. They call for you. Like an invitation, but you’ll never find them.

The sky darkens, 50 shades of blue, with a pink streak, just above the tree line.

Apse, a Saratoga winner, ambles to the corner of the backfield, he stands under a cluster of trees. Eagle Poise, a grade three stakes winner, finally exits the oasis of his turn-out shed, he trots a few steps – still flipping his toes like he did when he won that grade three stakes. Apse throws his head, turns and then lets him join, like old friends reuniting at the corner bar – ‘your round, pal.’ Royal Bonsai, a grade-one placed hurdle horse, blows his nose, rattling the air, you know the noise, a sigh of contentment only a horse can make. You can almost see the blades of grass flying from the corners of his mouth.

A cow bellows in the distance. Could be a grade-one winning cow, I wouldn’t know. And then another one. And then a third – long, slow bellows in the distance.

The moon, a half with a dusty cloud around it, rises above the tree that leans over the front of the house.

It is quiet. So quiet, other than nature. Simple nature in its natural state. I sat down with The New Yorker and read a page, maybe two, about Diane Feinstein and her fight with the C.I.A. and the White House, and then I looked around, slid the magazine across the table on the back patio and looked around again. A few mosquitos have bitten my ankles, I don’t mind. Two cats rest, like statues next to me, two random stray cats who made this their home. Lucky cats.

I walk inside to grab my computer, feeling the urge to write. Thoreau would have picked up a pencil, I think he made pencils, and paper, this isn’t quite as tranquil, nor am I Thoreau. When you feel the urge to write, you take it. Don’t let it pass, you’ll never get the moment back. That’s what I like about writing, what I write tonight won’t be like what I write tomorrow night or what I would have written last night. It is tonight’s writing, that’s all.

My family is away, in Birmingham, Alabama. Annie spending time with her dad on Father’s Day and his birthday. He’s 94. Miles is there, too. If they were here, I wouldn’t be sitting outside, I wouldn’t be writing, I wouldn’t have just finished a salad – lettuce from the garden – and I wouldn’t be looking across the back meadow, wondering if they are really peepers out there and wondering what their sounds mean. I listen some more. A horse – I can’t see which one now – rattles the air again. They are lucky to be here. So am I.