Word Count: 415
LYING IN THE SUNSHINE
By Beverly Jones
Like patients with hemorrhagic fever, when the mills and factories along the river began to close, the towns leaked workers searching for work in the cities. The proud buildings brooded with doors boarded and windows broken where vandals and rowdy teens had hoisted bricks through them.
The land survived though. The farmers remained, continuing their age old routine of milking cows and harvesting corn.
The young woman walked the path along the crest of the hill. She could see the fields not yet plowed, polka dotted with early dandelions. The trees showed off their translucent baby buds. The sunlight and breezes played across the fields, ruffling the grasses.
She smiled at the tiny kitten following her. Sitting down on the new grass she spoke to the baby cat who smelled the dirt and pounced on blades of grass.
“I draw strength and comfort from these hills, you know. But…”she paused, tickling the kitten’s belly. The kitten stretched, reaching her paws to the girl’s fingers. “They don’t awe me and fill my soul with longing as the sea does.”
She thought back to vacation trips to the beach. Oh, the sand hot beneath her bare feet. The sun on her bare shoulders. The waves crashing against the rocks exposed by years of erosion. The approaching storm black with clouds nearly skimming the tops of the angry surf. She stood on the sand facing the rocks as the sea slammed through holes worn in the limestone, drenching her with salt spray.
She thought of the John Masefield poem she learned in school, “I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky….I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied.”
She stretched out on the ground and spoke again to the fuzzy grey kitten who began to climb up her shirt, its tiny claws digging into her ribs, tickling more than hurting her.
“It’s all about decisions, isn’t it?”
The kitten began crawling along the front of her shirt.
“The land my great-great-grandparents fought for, both against the Crown and Mother Nature. Or the ocean which fills me with longing I cannot name. What should I do, small cat?”
The kitten had reached her face. It yawned and lay down with its head snuggled under her chin.
The young woman smiled and closed her eyes, waiting for answers, basking in the spring sunshine.