Saturday, December 12, 2009

Alone on the Fields

We took a walk tonite, doggie and I, out into the night with the fog and mist clouding the streets and orange cones of light shining down from the streetlights. We went out to the soccer fields and were the only ones there.

To our left, we could hear the muffled rush of highway sounds and see the lights of cars coming and going, white lights and then red glowing in the mist. To our left, somewhere deep in the distant neighborhood, there was a dog barking. Ahead of us in the distance, the lights of Austin glowed behind the silhouette of the Oak/Juniper grove on the other side of the middle school track.

And as we walked out there all by ourselves, I thought of an afternoon months ago when we had been there in those same fields.

The sun was shining. The sky was blue. There were soccer teams practicing in the fields, and two teams of touch football, and lacrosse. And there was a football game going on in the infield of the middle school track. We jogged our requisite laps slowly around the elementary school track, and then we cooled down. The soccer coaches were shouting instructions. The touch football coaches were putting their boys thru drills. The lacrosse teams were too far away to hear. And periodically, a cheer would rise up from the infield of the middle school track as someone ran the ball downfield.

On that day, we were not alone, and as the doggie and I were walking out there tonite, I remembered that other day.

I remembered black vultures circling in the air -- dozens of them, some up high, some low, spiraling on an updraft that was evidently moving to the northeast, for as they turned in their great circles, climbing into the air, they passed before me and gradually moved off to the right.

And I remembered how as those vultures receded into the distance, I heard an airplane droning loudly and turned to see a crop duster flying low, coming from the direction of the hills, going in the direction of the birds. And I wondered if the pilot saw them, for he was headed straight into their circling spirals. And I stood to watch to see what would happen and saw the plane suddenly head south in a wide turn around the vultures.

I remembered all this tonite as doggie and I walked across those fields by ourselves in the nighttime mist. No coaches. No parents. No kids running up and down the fields. No sprialing vultures. No droning airplanes. Just doggie and me.

We did a wide loop around the tennis courts and headed back home, for there was cobbler waiting.

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