| Michael Fralich, Norumbega Farm |
Cyra’s studded shoes crunched on the ice as we made our way down the barn driveway. Behind us Teddy let out a whinny to express his despair at being left behind. When we reached the marsh, I could just hear the water of Meadow Brook as it flowed under the ice.
The damp air carried the sounds of the turnpike miles to our west. A single crow called off to the east. Mocha ran parallel to us in the fields to our left. I could hear the whisper of her passage over the crusty snow. We passed a house where I could hear the barking of a dog inside, alerting her mistress to our presence.
I could no longer see Mocha so I called to her. I was between two houses facing each other on opposite sides of the road. My voiced echoed off the houses in my calling Mocha. Far out of sight in the clouds a twin engine prop plane passed over us.
We turned around at the new house overlooking the Thurston Wildlife Marsh. I could hear ducks calling from the still open water of the marsh. One of Cyra’s hooves slipped on hard ice and made a skittering sound until the studs caught on the frozen dirt of the road.
Cyra sneezed startling me out of my moving meditation. Blue jays called from a grove of poplars to our right. I could hear the tires of an approaching car before I could see it coming from the direction of the barn. The sound of a big rig using its air brakes on a road far bigger and busier than the one Cyra, Mocha, and I were on.
The rattling sound of the town dump truck and its plow rig came from behind us just as I spotted a school bus coming towards us. The school bus turned into Durham Road. It did not pass us. The town truck slowed down and waited for us to turn in at the Blackburn farm. I saw that Hannah’s car was running and heard her say, “Good morning, Michael,” as Cyra and I passed her sitting in her car.
As we neared the barn, Teddy let out a plea for our return. I clucked my tongue. Cyra picked up a brisk trot. The sound of her footfalls changed with her upward transition of gait. I dismounted. I scratched her neck as a thank-you. I led her into the aisle of the barn.
Her studded shoes made a grinding sound as she walked on the cement floor of the barn. We passed into a stall onto the rubber mats. The sound of her hooves changed again to a muted whisper. I untied her halter. I slipped it off her shaggy head. I gave her one more scratch before she walked out of the barn into the barnyard.