Bobbie Wayne's Blog

Short writings by Bobbie Wayne, writer, musician and visual artist. Her stories have appeared in The Ravens Perch, Intrinsick, SLAB, Blueline Magazine, and Colere literary journal.

September Song

Wednesday was one of those September days when you need a light jacket even though the sun still hints of summer. Dan and I took Liberty for a walk at lovely Appleton Farms in Ipswich, MA, a half-hour drive from Marblehead. The 1,000 acre property, one of New England's oldest operating farms is pastoral with rolling fields, historic farm buildings, and cows dotting the various pastures. The estate encompasses wetlands, grass lands and forest, with trails for horse riding. Dog owners must stick to the wooded areas where they can let their dogs off-leash.

The small dirt parking lot has a lot of cars for a Wednesday afternoon. We start down the dirt path bordered by fields and I am nearly overwhelmed by the fragrance of new-mown hay, stored in neat rolls like gigantic shredded wheats. We skirt the woods, walking across a still-grassy field. Purple asters and buttercups wave in the sun as we pick our way over the now-muddy trail, imprinted with hoof prints. Liberty canters ahead, her silver, black and white fur bright against the grass. She pauses at the forest entrance; pink tongue lolling with joy, then darts off into the shaded trees. We follow. She appears spotlit where the sun filters through the pines in lemony columns.

"Wait," we call. She pauses for an instant, then races off down the dirt path. I am put in mind of my mother's telling me how, as a three-year-old, I would fairly explode whenever I was taken to the park in Flushing, Queens. "I'm free!" I would shriek, whirling in ecstatic circles on the grass, glad to be away from our dingy dark apartment.

We walk on, approaching the boggy crossover to a different path. Cattails nine feet tall line both sides of the way, nodding in the breeze. When Liberty tries to enter the water, Dan fastens her leash. Now, only a steep wooded hill separates us from the cow pastures. We can smell the animals and hear them snort as we follow a soft trail of pine needles.

"There's the shrieking tree!" I say, pointing. It is truly fearsome; its great gray trunk is scarred so that the tree appears to have an open mouth and one eye. A branch seems to be flung out in alarm. We cross a sunlit swath, meeting several fellow walkers with dogs. The path reverses direction as it takes us uphill, separated from the sunny cow pastures by an ancient stone wall. Liberty, off leash once again, rushes to a break in the wall and stands with her front legs upon a rock. She is staring at the cows, several fields away. Some deep ancestral memory urges her to herd them.

Instead, we walk to a break in the wall and walk out into a sunny, fenced-in area. There is an odd granite spire, a visual anachronism, which used to grace one of Harvard's buildings, in the middle of the grass. We play frisbee here until, finally winded, Liberty lies down in the clover. We lie beside her, looking up at the cerulean sky, watching a small airplane pass slowly over us.

We cut through the forest on our way downhill. The white tip of Liberty's tail glows in the blue shade. Sheepherders call this part of a Border Collie the shepherd's lantern, since their dogs held their tails high as they guided them home in the dark.

As we enter the main path leaving the forest, I notice Dan's hair, sparkling with silver in the sun. "When did we grow so old," I wonder. I recall our first walk together from Croton train station to Croton Point Park on the Hudson river. His hair was long and brown at twenty-five.

Two dogs and their people approach as we make our way to our car. The dogs try to sniff Liberty, but she's not interested. Liberty is still young. She is looking forward to her dinner and tomorrow's adventures. 

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Comments 2

Guest - Bar bara Walsh on Saturday, 30 September 2023 09:44

Bar bara Walsh: a gentle reminder to be fully present in our daily wanderings and to soak in the beauty of life’s gifts: our partners, pets and nature’s bounty.

Bar bara Walsh: a gentle reminder to be fully present in our daily wanderings and to soak in the beauty of life’s gifts: our partners, pets and nature’s bounty.
Bobbie Wayne on Saturday, 30 September 2023 18:07

Thanks for reading, dearest friend!

Thanks for reading, dearest friend!
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Monday, 26 February 2024