Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Down in Texas

Down in Texas, the north grass land grows thirsty and stalks of kindling wave in the wind. Since morning, a mockingbird has been working the fenceline, and the cattle have congregated at precious trees. They follow the shade from long to short to long again as it crawls silently from one side of the tree to the other. Pick-up driving ranchers motor by with regularity, but to pasture dwellers it is routine background noise.

First one head, and then a few, lift and look for an odd new sound. Barely audible, is it danger? What is that continuous peeling of asphalt moving steady toward us? That’s no rancher. It’s stealthier. Be ready to flee.

Two wheels roll on hot pavement. Their tires adhere to the hot, sticky black. Then the sound of stainless steel spokes, so many useless fan blades, spinning and beating the air. Finally, rhythmic breathing grows louder...and then fainter as the cyclist glides on by. A few wary heads turn and follow, but the spoke sounds disappear. The peeling fades to nothing but the same hot breeze through brittle grass from only moments ago.

One by one, heads drop back down, tails flick flies, and the hot work of summer sustenance continues in the pasture.