Winter Cornfield, Winter Sunset

There was a field at the end of a road called Sunset Ave. Sunset was an apt name for the road because when you traveled on it, westward, late in the evening; you were treated to the sight of the sun’s final journey across the sky in our part of the world. This setting sun is a perfect circle, big and orange, sometimes red. You can only sneak quick glimpses of it, but you see its warm glow reflected in the open, limitless sky. The sky can sometimes seem pink, sometimes purple, and other colors that don’t have names. They don’t need to be named because they exist only in this sunset. Today you can see the white streaks made by jets that have taken off from, and landed at the nearby airport.

The field lies below the quietly darkening sky. The corn was harvested a few months ago, and now the ground is brown and knobby. From where you stand, you can’t see details, but you think it must look like Thomas Hardy’s Egdon Heath. You remember envisioning the brooding Eustacia Vye pacing on the heath when you read The Return of the Native in high school.

A group of Canadian geese have made this field their temporary home. You hear them honking gleefully in the distance and then see them overhead in v-formation, making their way to the field. Thirty, forty, fifty of them plod along in the dried corn stalks. They peck at the ground, eating whatever it is that geese eat. A band of big black crows join the geese. Crows are bold. They strut across the barren field as if they have the right. The two species co-exist. The field is big enough for all.

Cars whiz along Sunset’s cross street, their occupants heading home to do the ordinary things that people must do. A driver puts up a hand to shade her eyes from the setting sun. The sun speeds its pace, just a little.


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