Emilie runs along the night-time golf course. The wet grass is cool and soft to her bare feet. The lines of houses do not exist. Emilie is in between. Shadows dance along the edges, write poems in the sand traps. Emilie’s spirit stretches into her happy legs, her teenager thinness twirls happy to the stars. They’re up there, twinkling eternity, despite the orange streetlight glow.
Emilie catches the lowest branch of her climbing tree. Swing leg up, and grab, and grab. Helping her, showing her, this tree is her friend.
Easily perched, the sadness attempts to swell up at her, but Emilie pushes it away. Instead, she listens; the warm, moist wind shimmering upon her bare arms, twirling her hair. The leaves rustling will give her a message. If she is still enough, open enough, she will understand what they are saying to her.
Rustling, a curl of wind revolves about the branches and leaves. Emilie begins to make it out – a story of the forest that once was here.
What’s that? Emilie’s eyes pop open. Adrenaline escapes, but not so much. An invisible being sits where the wind had just been circling. Like a collection of breezes in a tight little package, eschewing the orange light, his story entices Emilie to pay close attention.
He points across the highway, to a field, the farmland, the unused farmland. He doesn’t wait for her.
Emilie swings down. Confident, she is soon on his path.
The orange glow is less and less. Emilie goes slowly. Each foot wants to know that its new home is safe before it stays.
The open field is easy now. The swells of hill roll gently. Fertile soil soft with knee-high grasses. Huron land once yielding corn, and squash, and beans.
Oh, there’s that shadow. His beguiling curls of wind-play show a well-groomed path. She’s been here before, in the day. It’s safe, a good path. The shadow trips along in front of her, exposing squirrel caches, hollering down rabbit holes.
Emilie grins at his nasty antics. The path winds through the lonely acre of timber. On the other side, the country road lays dark and cool. Rusty wires of these awkward fences are usually no hardship for Emilie. The shadow proffers a hand to struggling Emilie. What a gentleman. His form is now man-size. The raven’s face and feathered arms top a long Metis sash and thick burlap—covered scarecrow legs.
Emilie walks up the road toward the bridge, the scarecrow waddling and hopping along behind her – she will warn him if a car comes. But she does not like him being behind her, she wants to turn and check often.
Winding thick and fertilizer-green, the river water slugs away under the bridge. ScareCrow points to the nettled, crowded river’s edge. He thinks there’s a path there, he says they should go.
Emilie is nervous, picking along this unhappy river, because he is still stumbling along behind her. She is worried he might push her in.
Finally, he is right. Her muddied feet are glad to see the rocks and grass of a sheep field. Steeply rising up from the river’s edge, the rocky soil forms a bowl, the river just trickle of tea left at the bottom. A cairn of rocks sits awkwardly up ahead. Emilie scrambles up, only to find ScareCrow is already there.
“Huron bones lie under these rocks,” he tells her.
Pointing down at the river, Emilie leans over to get a view. He is showing her the river as it once was. Dancing merrily, little waves reflect the starlight and mer-children dance like pixies between the minnows.
Emilie longs to jump in there, she is dying to feel that freshness.
With wet licking panting yelps, the dogs’ tongue forces Emilie to open her eyes to the warming sun. Was death not her home last night?
‘No,’ the sun laughs.
‘No,’ the dog pants.
Dark, the dog’s eyes, in its darkest shadows, are the eyes of ScareCrow, the laughing shadow, the collection of winds. Any animal, any wind, will heal her, release her with stories of ancient times. Just look in the dark of their eyes, in the patterns of dancing leaves, to where the shadows condense.