The temperature dropped suddenly, and I felt an urgency to escape the approaching storm. Dark, swirling clouds descended and became increasingly closer to my perch on the small hill behind the farmhouse. I glanced at the barn. All the animals were secure.
The wind whipped around my legs, and I felt the first spots of rain beat against my tanned skin. The breeze lifted my dress, shaping it like an open umbrella. I held it in place, fearing the increasing wind would lift it over my head and blind me to the path to safety. I could watch the storm no longer; I had to go!
I cut through the knee-high spring flowers, feeling for solid ground between the clover, daisies, thistle and buttercups. If I had been out for a stroll, I would have found my footing easily, but in my haste, I stumbled over hidden mounds of earth, rocks and twisted weeds.
The cooling temperatures sent a chill down my back, and I wished I had brought a sweater to protect me from the elements. In my hurry to see the size of the storm coming from the north, I had left the barnyard without protection. The wind whipped hair into my face, and high above, I heard the rumblings of the sky gods as they brought forth the rain.
A flash to my left stopped me cold. The lightening that had once flickered in the distance was almost upon me. The rumbling immediately afterwards sent a shudder through my bones. I had to hurry.
By the time I reached the foot of the hill and began on the narrow path to the barn, the rain beat the ground with such force, it bounced an inch into the air. I felt its wetness drip through my hair and seep through the material of my dress. I blinked to sweep the drops from my lashes. I’d be thoroughly drenched before reaching the safety of home.
As I raced passed the barn, I heard Mr. Cogburn, the Chantecler rooster, singing his wake up song as if the sound would dissipate the storm and bring forth the sun. A distinct baa sound followed. The gentle bleat had come from a lamb, one of five born successfully this spring. I felt the urge to unlatch the barn door and check on the animals one more time, but I told myself they were safe; safer than me since I was still outside, facing the thunder, the lightning and the rain.
When I reached the front of the barn, I looked down the long stretch of driveway running past the front door and onto the road. Through the dim light and mist, I thought I saw something. Travelling further, I made out the image of a man. He crouched low, with his hat pulled down over his face to block the driving rain. I saw him stumble and fall to the soft, muddy ground. Before I could react, he pushed himself to his feet and headed for the front door of the house.
… Again the early-morning sun was generous with its warmth. All the sounds dear to a horseman were around me—the snort of the horses as they cleared their throats, the gentle swish of their tails, the tinkle of irons as we flung the saddles over their backs—little sounds of no importance, but they stay in the unconscious library of memory. ~Wynford Vaughan-Thomas