“Pastoral Scenes”–flash fiction from Difficult People

Pastoral Scenes



          Rough. Rough. Rough.

          And that’s no dog barking at you, Buster Brown. Mr. Simplicity himself. Back in the cradle. Farm animals. Vegetation green gold on the Horizon, like a Pilgrim’s Progress. No Slough of Despond hereabouts. Miss Talent was seen walking down by the cow pasture today; there was a wonderful loose wayward manner to her odyssey about the farm. It was noted by Miss Peabody that Ambrose was also seen in the vicinity earlier. Whether they walked together through the waving stands of sea oats is a matter of conjecture amongst the ladies of the kitchen, late in the glow of a winter afternoon…the smell of baking bread, wood smoke, and cinnamon sticks broken on the center table. Miss Spence is of the intuitive hunch Miss Talent and Ambrose, the cowherd, (no one sure of his exact last name), that Ambrose has been questioning certain religious sentiments of Miss Talent; and she, patient student of human capacities, has “taken him on.” The question method, Miss Talent hinted to draw out the young man’s inherent, natural genius, and marry intellect with nature, Miss Humphrey added, cutting off a block of yellow salt cheese…the paler block of butter imprinted with green herbs, such oddities hardly seem mixable in this common sense realm. But the bell to be rung, my many tasks, numbering dozens, and at dusk, dozens more before a head reaches its pillow, the dark notice chiming across the wetlands and river, up along the hillside in violet shadow, the brisk sharp breeze from over the headland, a wedge of Canada geese, a trailing column of crows to roost against the blue purple sky, the sun a tangerine glow beyond the hills, and Miss Talent and Ambrose silhouetted in conversation on the road from the pasture.



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