Prairie Sunset by Tom Lockhart-- Pastel
This was the view as I raced home to the farm tonight.
Earlier in the evening we had our first paid baby sitter out here on the prairie, got dressed up, and went to the vacant Beardsley Minnesota school for a wedding dance. [Aside- Beardsley- pop. 262- has some of the most beautiful brickwork school, church, and auditorium I've ever seen]. Not long after, the phone rang and one of the kids was very sick. All three kids, in some combination, had been home from school sick on Wed- Friday, but we thought we were safe (and due) for a fun night out.
Since we'd hardly started the evening I left Mike with a neighbor and headed back the 30 miles home. Those minutes in the car were the first moment I'd been alone in days. I opened the sunroof to a perfect September evening. Turned the satellite radio up loud to The Verve's "Rather Be Here Than Anywhere" and headed east.
I'd been having a few days where the 'new car smell' had left this adventure on the prairie-- a few hard days in a row-- sick kids, work stress, more tomatoes than I can sell, can or freeze, and when will that wind ever quit blowing?!!
As I headed down the road I saw a line of steel grey clouds stretching across the entire eastern horizon -- a few pinkish floaters in front reflecting the setting sun behind me. Then the moon caught my eye-- a full moon half risen over the bank of clouds. To my left and right were sloughs and wetlands and for a while a flock of ducks flew beside me, just parallel to my car. I could see the blaze orange/pink sun setting behind me in the rear view mirror. The fields of wheat stubble yellow against the still green landscape.
As I turned onto our gravel road--swerving sharply to avoid salamanders-- I could see an animal ahead on the road, either a coyote or very small deer. As I closed in, the tiny deer disappeared into the soybeans. I rushed into the house and scooped up my sobbing, pale, sick son. He's sleeping right here beside me now. It's dark and that same moon is shining right on me. And it is good to feel I rather be here than anywhere.