November 06, 2003

leastman lane

In the late summer, she'd sit on the rocky bank and watch the clay dry under her fingernails. The thick clay beneath the water was the best thing about the creek in mid-August, those tiny tadpoles making freckles and lines, darting in and out of what looked more like chocolate pudding than dirt.

On the hottest days she looked forward to finishing chores, to sinking into the softness of the creek, then stretching out on the bottom, gouging fistfulls of clay as she half floated, in cutoffs and a t-shirt, soaking head to toe in crystal water.

This was the only way to cool off after a ride, after the stalls were clean. The horse flies never followed her down to the water's edge. Neither did her nightmares.