Autumn Glow

Spark of Imagination by Amanda White of Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College
Spark of Imagination by Amanda White of Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College

Sunlight aglow casts along the field. Slow and growing much like myself. The dry stalk shadows splinter across the ground. A shiver shoots through my body. I flicker like a flame in the cold. A beacon of warmth in a bare wasteland. The house across the field is dark. No lights or smoke again this year. The other house is too far away. Maybe there will be smoke there. It will blow towards me again. It always does. I wonder when that man will come back. He might not be like the others. My new neighbors keep hollowing me out. I can tell they plan on staying here. For the kids. Annoying little things they are. luckily they are out for the day. I can sit in and eat in peace today.

The sun feels really nice today. I hope it stays like this all day. It has been getting too cold lately. The way the wind sweeps across the field is menacing. The impending winter is coming soon. I have to ready myself. Much like I have done for all these years. Just as my friends in the distance have too. Sadly, I have not been able to tell them. For years I have been reaching out but have not gotten any closer. As I’ve grown taller they have grown sparse— fewer and fewer of them. The people with their big machines come and take them. I fear that they will come for me as well. The field has not been used for many seasons. Their big machines scar the dry land. The withered stalks collapse under their weight. I slowly felt the field die all around me.

The man with the big wheels used to grow the field vast and tall. I almost could not see my friends. It has been a very long time since he came around. His house no longer has smoke coming from it. I have not seen his figure around, but his soul still remains. I feel his presence at my feet in the long summer days. No matter where he is, part of him is still here. With me.

I watched him grow from a young boy. He used to play with me when I was not as tall. I was not as grounded. I had a few more friends other than just the corn. He and a few other kids would come out when the corn was just beginning to sprout. It was not so tall that I could not see them coming. Slowly as many harvests came the children disappeared. But he stayed. We could sit and play for hours. As the seasons passed he began to grow taller. More wise. But he was less frequent with his visits. only a few times in the summer. I had to wait three long winters for his return.

By this time he became a young man. Taking after the other man who planted the corn. New children began to come see me. The man would climb on the big wheeled contraption as we played. Unfortunately there was a bad energy looming in his soul. His children stopped coming. The corn stopped growing. His soul was heavy. He would lay with me for hours. Sometimes he would weep. Most times he would talk to me. He would talk about his family. The children. Their mother. His parents. His sadness overcame him. The visits stopped for a few seasons. By the time the next harvest came around he had begun planting corn again. It took a while to grow, so I lent a hand. I had been there long enough to be able to do so. A lot of the corn far away from me took even longer. I could tell he appreciated it. Even if he did not know I had anything to do with it. Many more corn seasons went without fail. Every season I was able to help just a little bit more. He was finally feeling happier.

Thirty corn harvests passed by rather quickly. So many times I got a glance of the man. He had changed yet again from the last time I saw. His features were weathered. His hair was disappearing. His movements seemed difficult. The corn had ceased. He no longer drove the machines through the field. The only prints left upon the field were those of his boots. He walked to me every day after the last harvest. over time he got slower and slower. Each step caused him a great amount of pain walking across the empty field. Seeing his pain caused me great sorrow. He had been through so much in the time I’d known him. I tried to take his pain away through our long talks. Have him feel my positive energy. Take it in and use it to feel better. For a while I thought it was working. He was able to walk better for a few weeks at least. on his last visit he placed his hand on my back gently.

“Thank you, for everything.” he said. He tapped me a few times before slowly departing back to the house across the field. The smoke stopped that day too. He never came back after that. I waited twenty more winters for him to come back. I braved many storms, animals, and even more new children that never stayed long. Each of their souls were lively and bright, but none of them were like the first. None of their flames burned bright enough to reignite my soul. Not even the lightning storm that fried my insides kept my spark alive. None of them were my boy. Even the man who visited me the previous autumn was not my boy. The mark he left on me was physical. A large blue mark sprayed across my back. The time is almost here; I can feel it.

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