Tonight John moved the portable corral from one pasture to another and I rode along, clambering into my customary place beside him in his red farm truck (a 3/4 ton GMC with a hay spike bed) . While he folded the corral and hitched it to the truck, I walked down the road in the rapidly gathering dusk.
It was an appropriately spooky October evening. As I walked briskly toward a black stand of trees, a small creature scuttled out in the road about 100 feet in front of me, and both of us were startled. It was difficult to identify him in the shadows cast by the trees, but I think it was a young raccoon. He turned and ran back into the ditch from whence he'd begun his journey, gathered his courage, then dashed across the road to the other side.
I paused, told myself that he was more frightened of me than I was of him, and continued my walk. I had my phone in my pocket and the night was still. I told myself John would probably be able to hear me if I shouted for help.
The sun slipped below the orange rimmed horizon while the sky above deepened to rich indigo. I was busy snapping phone photos and suddenly realized it had become very dark. I felt uneasy; what else might be lurking in those dark trees ahead? I hurried back to the truck and was a little bit more out of breath than I ought to have been when I stepped back into the seat of the pickup.
John grinned at me. "Spooks in the bushes?" he asked.
"Just one," I replied, "And I think he made it safe home, just like I'm going to!"