After a few rainy days in a row, the clouds finally let up and the sun came out yesterday, so my wife and I bundled up the two little ones while our oldest was in school, and we went mulberry picking. We picked twelve and a half pounds, so we have them fresh and sugared and gave some away and pureed a big batch to freeze — they keep very well that way and we’ll be having mulberry treats well into winter. Especially since there are plenty of picking days ahead.
When we made it to the last tree on our berry picking hit list, a grand old giant perched on a hill, there was a magnificent puddle at the top. So while my wife and I picked the last couple pounds of berries, the little ones had a great time splashing and throwing mud and digging in it with sticks and splashing some more.
In order to get them home without soaking their car seats too badly, we stripped them to their underwear and carried the sodden clothes and shoes home in a plastic bag.
As he was stripping down, the older of the two said, “I’m so wet I have to be in my underwear!” (He has a talent for stating the obvious, but I kind of expect that from a guy who just turned five) I answered, “if you’re driving home in your underwear you probably had a good time.”
Young or old, I bet a few of you out there can agree with that.
Here’s a little bit of microfiction for you to enjoy. As happens often in fiction, it’s based on a real place and a real experience. I’ll leave you to decide which parts are fiction and which are not.
Copyright 2015 S.A. Barton
The eighteen-wheelers roar by above; the bridge over the creek is shorter than they are long.
Below, in the creek, cool water parting for thin boy shins, sun beating his back darker, darker, the boy crouches, peering down.
His hands part the toy cataract above a stone wearing a sleek skirt of algae filaments.
Backwards, the greeny-brown crayfish flees into the shadow gathered under the stone.
Another eighteen-wheeler approaches; low diesel thunder.
Little fingers chase after the crayfish, darting through the dark under the stone. Above, thunder, thunder, thunder, closer.
The boy grunts, smiles, flips the stone, algae skirt flaring wild.
The crayfish squirts backwards all in a burst.
THUNDER the truck mounts the bridge.
Long, long, bony arms streak out of the dark under the little bridge, faster than crayfish and boys, stretching out of a lank green shadowed crouchy shape.
Overhead the truck thunder recedes and dissipates into the distance.
The shallow creek waters fill, then pass over smooth a lost shoe mired fast in the mud.
The crayfish climbs inside, taking refuge.