Tell A Tale in 500 Words
There Was a Field of Wheat By Bryan Marshall
There was a field of wheat.
Away from the smog and choke of the city, we would visit every summer.
And in the late spring that field would be grey-green, tilting with the wind, and with sticky fronds at the top that would catch and scratch at your clothes and your bare, hairless arms as you sprinted by. The narrow trail by the hawthorn hedge took you where you wanted to go. You’d fly down the track, past the thrusting rowan and the beech that was struck by lightning that time, over weeds and knots and roots and jutting stones, the chill sun on your face and your back, your clumsy ankles nearly but not quite tripping. The sky shone bright blue back then, pale as ice, with a white glare overhead that hurt to look at. In the distance the fat abundance of clouds hung happily in wait, ready to slake the thirsty crops. A threat to your games, but still far enough away not to hinder.
A glance to the right, though, and something would catch your eye. A patch of the field that was different, almost bare. Not quite out of sight, detected. You could sense it, maybe smell it, or something hit or bit at your tongue. But, engrossed in your play, it remained unexplored.
And the whole thing, by the end of the summer, would be ready for the harvest. The stalks would be yellow, a softly swaying gold, and brittle. Their crunch would yield to millstones, pulverised into the raw ground ingredients of our daily bread. Sustenance.
Glimpsed budding in the spring, that secret in the middle of the field was now luscious with life. In that patch, among what were now sheaves and straw and weighty heads of corn, there lay a garden. Of flowers. Little, colourful, pretty, inconsequential flowers. There were purples and poppy reds, yellows and cornflower blues, the subtle bursts of daisies all lazily punctuated by sated, droning bees. And there was soft, sweet green grass, all wet and full of life and ripe with the smell of squashed succulence.
Though the smog finally cleared, we still returned, year after glorious year.
My arms had hairs now, and my running in the field was in a different direction. We had discovered that garden, and had made it ours. It was our secret.
Before the farmer came with his hired hands and removed the screen, and while the sun lay hazy in the hot midday of summer, we would run, frenzied, crushing through good crops, and come to rest in lush abundance.
And in that garden, soon more than the bees would be sated.
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