Sunday, September 18, 2005


Some bright autumn morning, you might decide to lace on your hiking boots and walk. You might cross the horse pasture behind the house, your trail stretching through the wet grasses of the pasture behind you, arrowing back the way you came. Perhaps you pause, turn and look over your shoulder at the place where you dwell, pale sun slanting off the windows, the last of the frost glinting from the shaded part of the lawn, protected by the single cottonwood profiled against the sky.

You can push your hands deep in fleece pockets against the cold of the fall morning, and think warm thoughts about the smell of bacon in your kitchen, but walk on. Climb through the barb-wire fence on the edge of the pasture and walk down the hill. There are wagon ruts still carved into the earth, here--grassed over, now, but your feet find the track and follow, unerringly.

At the bottom of the long hill, the old road hidden beneath the grass veers sharply right, away from the rim of the coulee. You can leave the path, though, and go and stand on the edge looking down. Perhaps deer are still feeding in the canyon bottom, lulled by the cool sunlight. Knowing that winter is surely coming.

At the top of the coulee the good earth falls away beneath your feet. The prairie ends in sandstone cliffs where the coyotes and buffalo dance forever, etched into the stones by hands long since gone back into the sod beneath the long brown grasses and wild roses covered in brilliant red hips.

And it abides. Even when you turn back, cheeks flushed, to go home to your coffee and the day--it abides.


Ms M said...

Wow, you had me hearing the sizzling fat of bacon on my imaginary soundtrack as you headed out on your morning trek. Warm fleece, promise of coffee, a crisp autumn walk. Stunning. We had a day like that today but with a hint of spring and the heady smell of Jasmine in the air.

Dawno said...

Simply lovely. Thanks for sharing, in my mind I can feel the dampness around the cuffs of my jeans, smell the crisp fall scents and see the ancient cliff drawings as I stroll along with you.

DD said...


Anonymous said...

Oh, Mac. I did a terrible thing tonight. I killed Secede from the Union. I had no reason to; I just decided the time had come to put that sad little girl to bed. I'll regret it in the morning, I'm sure, but she's gone now. I'm telling myself it was so I could focus on But I think the malaise went deeper than that. I shall still read you diligently.

All best,

Mac said...

Carrie--good heavens! Well, um...either congratulations, or I'm so very sorry--depending on how you feel in the morning.

I'll see about getting links changed over, in the meantime...

Joanne said...

I read this a week after you posted here and thought I commented. After seeing it revised on AW I had to come back to make sure I told you what a wonderful piece this is. I felt like I was walking with you. :)