Wednesday, January 11, 2012


When I was a little girl, about 7 or 8 years old I would spend weekends with my cousins in the gorgeous countryside of Fincastle, VA. They had rolling fields, horses, and a creek that wound through the surrounding land where we would spend hours digging up herkemer diamonds. One day it was raining and raining and we were stuck inside. I stood at the door that faced the barn and a large field where the horses grazed. They had just put up hay so the big bales were scattered throughout the field. As I stared out through the rain I saw one of the hay bales get up and transform into a huge hay monster, it had legs and short arms and dark eyes that seemed to look right at me. I rubbed my eyes, shook my head and peered through the rain to see if my eyes were playing tricks and again I saw the creature lumbering towards me. I turned to Gwen who was peacefully breastfeeding Trevor in an old rocking chair and asked what the creature in the field was, to which she responded that they were just hay bales.

When I was 39 years old I was watching a performance of Chuck Davis's African American Dance Ensemble at the American Dance Festival. My son Mark who was 2 years old was with me. At one point a small hay bale sitting upstage left began to rise and stood up and danced to the driving drum beats. This scared Mark and he kept asking very loudly, "What is that?! is it a wolf? Or a monster??" As soon as I saw it the above memory came back to me, long forgotten until that very moment. I think the dance was in honor and celebration of harvest time.

Today I looked out of the window at the driving rain and tried to blur my eyes as I looked at a beautiful maple tree with green lichen growing on its limbs willing whatever spirit resides in her to show me something, anything. I wondered why it is that I don't see things like that anymore. Does the veil get more opaque the older we get? Because when I stop to think about it, I used to see tiny people too. I had an imaginary friend named Duffy who used to join us for dinner on occasion. I would sit and talk to him while my mother rejoiced in what a wonderfully imaginative young daughter she had. Was Duffy a figment of my imagination? Was the hay monster real? Did I build the tiny villages out of sticks and leaves in the woods for the tiny people? And why have they left me now?