The yellow gravel road meanders down a sunken patch of farmland covered by green and the occasional brown of oak. A small brook trickles beneath a two way bridge, whispering through the melodic calling of the bullfrogs, that hush, as a beat-up rusty Ford truck crosses, and then disappears, leaving a line of mustard smoke and muddy tracks. I wait in silence until the motor can be heard only faintly through the buzzing call of locus. I have stopped here on many occasion, to loose myself in the coming of the evening, when the hint of coolness breaths a heavy drawl as the humidity begins to dissipate until the rain.
Dusk is a succession of blues that fade purple into the horizon. The moon begins to lift its bald head to arouse the fireflies, the barn owl, and the toad. Only a few stars can be detected though the slow moving clouds that warns of an August storm. I enjoy watching the world change at this time. I feel as if I am the Tempest and my presence gives opportunity for an impressive show of the heavens, at my command. I breathe it in thickly. I come here when I am immersed in thought, or to get away, but not to stray too far. I lean a tattered head over the shaky barrier that guards me from spilling into the brook; I look for the bullfrogs that I so seldom see but so often hear. The patter of my feet and the creek of the barrier give warning of my presence so even their croaks are silent. I am an intruder to them now.
I face up the gravel road and focus on the illuminated outlines of two practical and sturdy houses that glow blue in the light of the new moon. I come here to think about them, those who from here, seem to cast immortal shadows from the window lights. Soon I will be inside with them, stirring and scampering to keep busy, until sleep can no longer be denied. I stand in reluctance in what is becoming a chill, until fear or cold or thoughtfulness cannot keep me from returning. Still in pensive reflection, I saunter up the road half in anticipation of warmth and half in fear of the dark.
A tall oak tree reaches out a greeting, swaying in black shadows as the first rumble of the storm alerts the world of its coming. I stop, turn, and count until the whip of a distant lightning bolt touches ground, miles of flat farmland from where I stand. Soon the Mid West sky will ensue its battle and I will be safe inside. I ascend a small succession of stairs and open a heavy weather door that swooshes behind me. The porch is still balmy from the day’s heat and it’s almost soothing, almost nauseating. The room smells of wet dog, while sticky fly traps uncurl from the ceiling like frog tongues that have been frozen in snapshot poses. The flies are welded to the paper, some still buzzing as I pass by them and enter the house.
An emptiness sets inside me, hollow and heavy like a log. Thick pots and pans clash and bang together as if inside a storm is also brewing. The old spongy carpet gives beneath my sandals. The squish, squash, gives away my entrance and I can no longer go on undetected. The sound of conversation can be heard; the rumbling growl of my father’s speech, in which his presence is always known, the chit-chat of my mother and aunt reminiscing of times past, draws to a halt as I enter the kitchen. If it were not centered between every other room in the house I would have avoided entering altogether, knowing that my mother will try to pull me into inquisition to reveal my thoughts. Her questions only prompt me to avoidance, as I spit out one- syllable answers to quell her flame of concern. The entire family is sprawled about the main house and I slide down the corridor to find an unoccupied room.