Flash in the Pan


A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

Wilderness


by S.c. Kleinhans

We eagerly step onto an amazing little thoroughfare because it makes us feel alive. This long private road leads to a rural stretch of concrete. My curious dog, Kurai, and I traipse down this uneven patchwork road of gravel, flowers and grass several times a day.

Our eyes are drawn in many different directions. I look up to the sky for an old-fashioned
weather report or at a wayward pilot who happened to miss the airport, but I usually stare
at the herd. The cows pace back and forth while the stately bull guards his tight-knit family.
Four half-grown calves stare at me, then at the dog. They know we're not strangers, but they
still don't trust us.

Four horses share that bucolic pastureland. Two of the horses frequently gallop up to the fence.
They recognize me and they start begging for carrots. We enjoy a quiet staring game for a while. As soon as they realize that I am empty-handed, they quickly disappear. Kurai takes notice of the unassuming cats who guard against the uninvited rats who seek to disrupt the natural rhythm of this rustic bliss.

My little black dog looks over her shoulder, begging for permission. I give her my best teacher stare. Then I let her make her own decision. She usually rejoins me within a few seconds, but on some occasions the temptation is much too strong. Kurai chases the cats all around the barn until they're all worn out.

Bunnies and birds provide additional stimulation for my inquisitive canine. The mental and physical activity have proven quite beneficial. Kurai doesn't have Alzheimer's and she's lost nearly fifteen pounds. Thanks to the indigenous and transplanted residents near that long road.

The road itself is a marvel. I stare down at it, in between footsteps, searching for particular gems. I was unusually lucky on one recent outing. I found two old railroad spikes. They're about a hundred years old. I've been walking down this road for six years and I've only uncovered ten to twelve of them. Other treasures I seek out are romantic in nature. Heart-shaped stones. Some of them are speckled and others resemble the color of faded bricks.

This rustic bliss has survived two massive hurricanes: Rita and Ike. The scenery changes from season to season, but the spectacular beauty remains the same. Temporary inhabitants occasionally join the regulars for brief sojourns. One horrific visitor was a six or seven foot long water snake. A sinister being with colorful stripes. I only saw it once. Another surprise came in the form of a small furry
dinosaur. A quick computer search provided its identity: a wild river otter. I was blessed with this rare sighting, from the comfort of my car, on a seemingly ordinary day.

I try to steer clear of the anthills, usually walking out of my way so I won't obliterate these tiny metropolises, but a few days ago, I accidentally destroyed one while avoiding several others.

Rusticity can be dangerous.



S.C. Kleinhans
Writer/Educator
P.O. Box 681
Winnie, TX 77665


Twenty-eighth Flash


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