Riders on the Storm



Catching a few hours of freedom, I chose, as usual, to go to the mountain. Dark clouds moved across the sky in waves and the lightest sprinkles of rain were swept in on the wind. I welcome the rainy weather—it usually means I have the place to myself. On this day I reached the top and sat down to enjoy my customary thermos of tea.  Suddenly I became aware of a great clamoring in the eastern section of the sky. At first I thought it was a murder of crows; then I thought I heard geese, then the sound seemed to merge into an undefinable howling. I strained to see where it was coming from, but the clouds obscured the source of the noise. Still, I could tell it was moving westward across the sky and for a brief, startling moment I felt that if I stood up and spread out my arms I could join them, those howlers on the wind.  A chill ran up my spine, despite the fact that I was clutching a hot thermos of tea, because whether or not the makers of the sound were crows, or geese, or both, they were also something else.  Part of me knew then that the Hunt was on the ride and for just a moment, it had called me. The wind blew, the rain prickled my face and then the moment was lost with the sound, receding into the western cloud banks.

I sat like stone, a long time, before drinking my tea.