A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra


Violet light veined the clouds.

We have a field! We did not mean to have a field, but it’s a nice by-product of losing the horses.

Our field is easily beautiful and requires nothing of us at this time. It’s simply there. We haven’t planted anything in that field in years. We haven’t mowed that field ever. We did make a few paths. The boys ride their bikes along the paths and land in the firepit, which is a little weird and probably dangerous. I should probably tell them to stop.

The fence around the field is half taken down, half still standing,  exactly what you might expect from us. Deer love our field and it’s not unusual for us to spot a few standing and nibbling in our field in the twilight or early morning hours. When I see them it reminds me of a morning I went out to feed horses, when we still had horses, and disturbed a great flock of deer who bounded away into the woods with their white tails admonishing me for my stealthy ways. They sounded like hard snow coming down in the woods before the leaves had quite finished dispersing.

I know, I know: ticks! I’m sure our field is infested with them.

A few Sundays ago I sat on a large flat rock in our field and remembered what it was like to be twelve and on summer vacation. I watched the trees blow in the breeze for a full five minutes. It was glorious. And then a boy called for me and it was over. I was forty again and tired.

I know at some point we’ll need to do something to the field to keep it a field. It will involve machinery and men talking. But not this month. This month it’s a gift. And I accept.

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