I was on the second floor of our house. In our bedroom. My husband
was gone. I had been stripping our bed when I went to a window. I
saw that the pumpkin farmer who lived on the other side of the road
was struggling with a young horse he had just bought. He would not
have been able to buy that horse before Halloween. But it was now
after Halloween, and all his pumpkins were sold, and he had that
horse. He was trying to make it do something it didn't want to do.
It reared up on its hind legs.
I saw hundreds of birds wheeling in the air. They were small birds.
Small and black, and they wheeled, making whorls. They seemed to go
as if controlled by one string. They wheeled in the air before they
landed in our field behind our house. We had just planted winter rye,
and the little birds were there in the little sprigs and dark ground.
I opened the window. It was cold but still. I saw the pumpkin farmer
was trying to get that young horse into a trailer. The farmer had a
leather loop, which he put to use by whipping the horse across its
eyes. I closed the window hard so that I'd scare the birds. All of
them -- hundreds of them -- took to the air again.
The pumpkin farmer must have gotten the best of his horse because he
was coming down his long driveway, towing the trailer. The birds I
had scared away were back. They were in the rye again. Just hundreds
of them. Over a thousand little black birds with shiny beaks.
The farmer got to the end of his driveway and turned onto the road. I
opened and closed the window again -- to scare the birds. They all took
off, and I didn't expect them to fly toward the pumpkin farmer. As
they flew to him, I thought maybe they would pluck him out of his
truck, pick him up, and take him back to his farm. His legs dangling. Him, higher than a yellow balloon. But instead they flew into his
windshield. He lost control of his truck and went into a deep
drainage ditch. Then the trailer he towed buckled and crawnched into
the ditch, too. I could hear all this through the window. The horse