It Was a Quiet Day in the Country

Daily Prompt: Non Sequitur. Write a post about anything you’d like, but be sure to include this sentence somewhere in the final paragraph: “He tried to hit me with a forklift!”

The tractor trundled across the fields, little brown rabbits scattering left and right as it disturbed their congregation. They disappeared into their holes or scampered off towards the hedgerows along the boundaries of the property.

Birds called from the tops of the stone walls, their sound only slightly penetrating the sound of the engine.

Overhead, the clouds raced at different speeds and in different directions, layer upon layer. Occasionally, a patch of blue would appear between them. Ragged mountains and rolling hills in vibrant hues of green surrounded the fields and reached up into the sky, dusted by the lowest of the cloud layers.

It was late in the year and Noel was out in his field, cutting the hay down to the quick, making sure it was tight to the cool, damp earth.

In his noisy tractor, assaulted by diesel fumes, Noel was immune to the majesty of the nature surrounding him. He had been born and raised right here, on the family property in the shadow of these hills and mountains. He knew nothing else and, focused as he was on his farm, never thought to look around and take in the view.

Besides, time was of the essence if he was to get the job done before the rain fell.

He did not see his nephew and the foreign girl as they walked along the road. If he had, he likely would have waved, and then continued with his work.

She was curious, the foreign girl. She seemed out of place, dreamy and always gazing at the sky and the hilltops as though she had never seen anything like them before. People in the parish often wondered what brought her here, to the very rural reaches of Ireland, and how long she would stay.

Not that Noel really considered the question. She was simply part of the surroundings, part of the shifting landscape. And he had little time to dwell on any of it.

“I forgot to take something over to Uncle Noel’s for me mum,” the boy was saying to the girl. “Do you think you can find your way there, and I’ll meet you?”

“Yes, sure. I’m enjoying the walk.”

And they separated, the boy at a jog towards home, the girl, slowly, pausing now and then to smell the sweet fresh air and to look around. “No matter how long I’m here,” she thought, “I will never take this beauty for granted.”

A little further down the road, the tangled masses of fuchsia growing along the ditch separated, exposing a sliver of the stone wall which lay beneath them. The girl walked over to admire the wall, and catching sight of the beautiful fields beyond, climbed up and seated herself in the small space created by the break in the foliage. From here she could see out across the neighbouring pastures and down the road to a little stream.

She was aware of the drone of the tractor behind her. She heard its rumbling as it moved back and forth across the field, first over her right shoulder and then over her left, but she paid it little attention. She preferred to focus on the nature surrounding her instead. By now, she was used to the sounds of the farms around her and accepted the continuous drone of the machinery as just another part of the environment.

And so, it came as a shock when she realized at the last moment before impact that the tractor was right below her, its hydraulic forklift arm reaching out over the tops of the dainty pink flowers to drop a bale of hay over the wall – and almost into her lap.

“He tried to hit me with a forklift!” She would later exclaim as she told the story to the boy and his family. And although she was a city girl and may have been out of place in the farmlands of rural Ireland, they all had to agree that Noel was a pretty strange character.

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  10. What the Forklift? | Phelio a Random Post a Day
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  14. Organized Labor Rage (short fiction) | The Jittery Goat
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  17. Non Sequitur – The Unfollower. | The Ambitious Drifter
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11 thoughts on “It Was a Quiet Day in the Country

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