Saturday, May 26, 2012


Stillness. Utter stillness is what met me at the door at 8:16 PM this evening as I went to milk Sombrita...


While working in the barn this afternoon, I could feel a change in the wind. The Southern breeze suddenly whipped into a Northern wind and then died off as suddenly as it came... And then there was nothing. Nothing at all. No movement in the air, in the grass, in the trees. Life became an oil painting. A portrait of stillness. I exhaled. The only noise, save for soft hoofsteps from Sombrita. 

As the day waned, the eerie feeling in the atmosphere waxed fuller. It was that feeling that made your skin crawl. It made you afraid to breathe. Something wasn't right...

The moment I stepped outside this afternoon, I could see that something was up. I gasped softly at the strange sight before me... Everything my eyes beheld was a glowing peach hue. The sun was setting in the west, but casting its rays upon a ragged blanket of gunmetal clouds; edging each one with copper and burnt orange. My rose colored Carhartt coat looked tan. My skin looked the color of a Native American. Dust motes hung in the still, quiet air. 

Sombrita paced the length of the gate. Waiting for me. Her udder was engorged with the most milk she's given me yet. I opened the gate and let her run ahead. She knew where to go and made a beeline for her milk stand and grain. The sound of her hooves hitting the old wooden stand seemed to reverberate as thunder echoed through our valley. A storm was coming...

As I milked her, little thunderstorms growled and grumbled in her round barrel. Some days her ruminating stomach sounds like the ocean. Tonight it was a storm. My left ear resting on her barrel listened to her little storms, while my right ear listened to a bigger storm brewing outside the barn. Talk about an echo. The strange lighting made the barn look as though something from the deep past. the old beams and walls were clothed in sepia. The cobwebs became antique lace.

The rolling thunder, though afar off, was enough to make Sombrita jumpy, and I had quite the time trying to milk her out without having any hooves land in the frothy white. As long as I did not move, did not break my milking tempo, did not speak, she stayed in a seeming trance. If I dared change anything, a hoof was lifted. This girl doesn't like change. 

Milking was finished, and I left to go inside. I do not tarry while there is milk in the pail. A glance over my should took in the sight of Peaches and Ivy standing side by side in the doorway, looking out to pasture. They were bathed in gold, their faces turned up to the sky. My barn guardians.

When I came back outside, the moment in time had passed... The sun had set and the thunder had migrated. But that eerie stillness remained.  Oh it remained... To haunt, to whisper, to bait and taunt one. Would nothing break this spell? I felt like I was drowning. Gasping for air. I needed a noise, a breath, a movement.

And then it came... A sweet wisp from the east. The world was made anew with that silvery sigh.

I relaxed, and finished barn chores. Sombrita nickered softly as I left... 

God's in His heaven, all's right with the world...


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