August 1, 2015

On windless summer days, vultures perch on the cell tower up the hill from my house and scan the horizon. They are glider pilots; without wind they would use up their wing energy in minutes. So they watch and wait and smell and balance and ballet.

I walk in shadows, black treetop to treetop on windless summer days, and butterflies sip my sweat. The leaves sag and fold inward and pant, and the tallgrass prairie flowers are trampolines for bumblebees.

Bluetailed skinks and obsidian-colored rat snakes sun themselves on the hot asphalt, bodies pulsing to repel ants, eyes upward to watch for sentinel owls and redtail hawks, on windless summer days.

On windless summer days, the river is torpid, glassine, rippled by garfish, patrolled by fisherbirds: great egrets and herons and American white pelicans, wings agleam in the hot sun, and seagreen bullfrogs sit trancelike on the river’s bottom and hold their breathe.

Squadrons of dragonflies dive and dart over the coffee-colored tepid water on windless summer days, their beating wings papery and rattling, and green bottleflies dart as fast as Zorro’s sword.

Monarch butterflies float across and through tree limbs, their eyespots glaring like ogres, their bodies poisonous to predators, and they parasail and rise and fall, on windless summer days.

On windless summer days, girls in skimpy clothing walk with sure legs and piston hips: the rise and fall of the male empire.

Sailboats languish and drift on windless summer days and weekend sailors put their feet up and sip cold beer and dream(?).

Kites do not fly, coyotes do not stalk, babies do not laugh, old men do not walk, snapping turtles do not snap, farmers do not reap, mourning doves do not stop crying, praying mantises do not pray, hummingbirds do not hum, songbirds do not sing:

on windless summer days.

About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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