Fields of Barley, Vol. 7
(If you want to read this from the beginning, click the Stories, Short & Otherwise Link above)
This time Mark’s mind began to figure things out on its own; his own internal thoughts cut through the fog of binding confusion. Slowly an image began to appear, its edges focusing until the scene was crystal clear. Mark saw a younger version of himself standing alone on a cool autumn day. The eight-year clothed in blue jeans, a flannel shirt, and Chuck Taylor Converse high-tops stood watching the sun set behind a distant mountain range, the golden field of hay blazed as though on fire around him. The image was so palpable, so tangible, so real to Mark he felt the heat from the sun on his cheeks and smelled the dry pollen-filled air. The memories were so strong, so all-encompassing, the very walls confining Mark and Anna-Lisa disappeared and they found themselves in the same field among the wheat and the sun and the insects, with the brilliant orange-red sky above them, the warmed earth beneath their feet.
Mark looked around at his new surroundings. He was no longer a thirty-five-year old man whose heart quit beating in the night, but he saw and smelled and experienced this beautiful scene of nature through the eyes of an eight-year old. He looked down barely seeing his clothes, the wheat reaching the youngster’s shoulders and he knew exactly where he was. His Uncle Jack owned and operated a ranch in Hamer, Idaho. The crop of choice-potatoes, but in these 40 acres, his uncle grew hay for his animals. The third cutting of the season would take place in a few weeks before the bitter Idaho winters would swoop in and engulf the area, freezing all life in the vast plain. Mark not only experienced external stimuli, but deep emotions came flooding back to the child watching the sunset, nearly knocking him off his feet.
It all came back. Twenty-seven years earlier a young boy and his father traveled to the farmland of southeastern Idaho. The boy’s father stayed the night, and in the morning, the child stood solemn-faced, his uncle’s arm around his shoulders, as his dad got into the family car, drove down the dusty driveway, turned on the main state road, and disappeared into the east. The boy was to spend the next school year living with his aunt and uncle for reasons he could not possibly understand at such a young age. Seeing his father drive away broke Mark’s innocent heart. He was never more alone than at that very moment.
To be continued...
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