Red and Green

By
More by this author
Whump! I land on the other side of the creek after a leap of faith. I listen to the thunderous applause from thousands of leaves in the wind. I continue through the forest leaving the creek and its musty smell. I admire the thick wetland forest by my cottage. I love how the moss weaves a fanciful pattern on the rocks like a carefully made doily set on a table. The hundreds of birds and insects create an orchestra with no conductor. I continue until I reach a patch of forest highlighted with sunlight, displaying the crown jewel of the forest.

The quail bends down its long neck to pick at the ground, its bright feathers put the finest furs in the same league as polyester. Its long tail feathers elegantly brush the ground like a beautiful wedding dress on the church floor. The moment is brilliant.

“What’cha doin’ here boy?” My toothless neighbor scares me half to death. I hear the wind under the quail’s wings. “You’s one Yankee aint’cha?” he exclaims holding his hunting rifle, Betty. “Jus’ out here ‘n not huntin’ or nothin’!” I don’t know why he calls me Yankee, we live on the same road, the only road.
“I’m sorry Mr. Bush, I was just enjoying a walk.” I say, still intimidated by Betty.
He scratches his stained yellow wife beater, “I told’ja ‘for boy, call me Hank. Now get on home ‘for yer parents worry. The suns a settin’.” He advises with a voice like a violin played with a crowbar. I take his advice and walk home with the setting sun on my back. I thought about the quail.

The morning dew painted fresh colors over the forest. The smell of wet foliage focuses my mind. I retrace my steps in hopes to find the quail. Bland birds chirp quizzically as I trek through the forest. Twigs perch upright as if they have a question and even the wind sounds curious.

I almost lose hope of seeing it when a scraping noise causes me to whip around. Right in front of me, on a low hanging branch, is the quail. I’m positive it is the same quail, that kind of beauty cannot be counterfeit. Its long tail hangs beautifully down from the branch like a chandelier and its feathers seem to be blanketed in gems. It is only a few yards away, I can’t believe it. I hate to leave the quail behind, but I have a plan. With a handful of sunflower seeds in my hand I run back into the forest.

Whump! I land on the other side of the creek, but something is wrong. There is no applause from the trees. There are no sounds in the forest at all. It is completely silent; like a cemetery.

“Ain’t she a beaut?” screeches the out of tune violin. I turn around and see the quail hung by its neck from Hank’s belt. Its magnificent feathers caked with mud and its once calm eyes daunting and blank. Its wings and tail hang limp and swing like a noose. I stood motionless in denial of what I just saw. All color drains from the world. I walk back to my cottage in the chilly wind and dead forest. I leave the mourning woods behind.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback