The sun is high above me by the time I see the farm on the horizon, with its tattered yellow flag whipping in the hot breeze. The barn’s central roof beam is bowed, sagging gently in a way that feels warm and inviting, like the childhood ideal of a barn. There have been a half dozen farms along the last stretch of road, but none prominently displayed the signal flag, or showing any signs of habitation. It seems providence that I should come to this place, and I step of the highway onto a nearly overgrown gravel path.
I’ve been following Highway 37 all morning, a blacktop scar dividing the glass-still wetlands to the South and the fields and hills of wild golden grass to the North. I savor the quiet emptiness of Creation. Alone except for the elegant cranes above the water and the herds of deer grazing in the dry brush, I find long silent hours to reflect and meditate on the days passed, and the glorious days ahead. Beneath my feet the pavement is already growing warm, and the air begins to shimmer in the distance. There is a wet, earthy riot of smells, wet and earthy like fresh tilled soil and stagnant water. The whine and drone of insects is a warbling monotone symphony, unbroken save for the short cries of waterfowl.
The Vallejo Crater is far behind me now, hidden by a ridge of meek hills and the opalescent summer haze. Ahead, a little farmhouse comes into view from behind the barn, a leaning two room structure with pale yellow paint peeling in the sun. Again, I feel a comforting warmth and my grin widens at the charming innocence of the little home, and I try to imagine it without the thick wooden boards over the windows and doors.
A polished draft of this story is in submission. I’ll update you as to its progress, and when or if it comes home unsold, I’ll post a new version.