It was in moments of utter silence when he found he liked himself the most. Not the type of silence suffocating the breeze against the surface of water or the buzzing silence of a quiet room but the sort of silence which filled him, left him adrift like a coffee cup brimming over with hazelnut. Moments of quiet rush; breaking clods of black dirt open like tiny galaxies with the heels of his boots, soft treads against foxtail and millet, and the rush of river off to the east like a recurrent symphony. Pintail whistling over the earth with hushed wings. Pockets of crushed grass empty from bedding whitetail.

He found no solace in unnecessary noise. No peace in rooms full of people prattling like prize chickens about summer vacations or newly purchased cars. He sought the well worn edges of his Carhartt coat and the weighted bounce of his gun against his back. The surprise flight of dove before his eyes and softly cussing muskrats banking to their huts, cutting V-shaped waves across the pools.

© Pearl Bayou, 2018

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