The bus clanks and shakes as it takes the turn, puffing down the hill into the darkness. I watch until I see only brake lights blinking at the end of the road. Silence descends, moonlight settling back upon the bare branches flanking the road. I turn to walk, drawing crisp cold air into my lungs, looking up at the pines as they whisper to the December breeze. Where to go? I start walking down the slope of the road, keeping to the left in case of sudden traffic, but no cars come and the silence continues. Little rustles in the woods nearby sound like chipmunks, but in the dark and cold the little creatures are likely settled warmly underground, bundled together in lumps of black-striped fur. Perhaps the last few leaves falling? Or a mouse, darting from her burrow, scurrying to get that one last bit of food before returning to safety with her prize? I am alone on the road, breath frosting as I pick up my pace. The light seems to enlarge with each passing minute, expanding the closely-held darkness from around my body until it lifts up to the horizon, glowing. The sun seems like an impossibility now, a fantastic myth from an earlier time, yet I know that it comes, silently, inexorably, to chase away the nighttime and bring warmth and light in its place. I treasure this time in between. Not really night, not yet day, I balance between sleep and waking, between dreams and daily chores, floating on the half-light. Possibilities abound in this space. Will the day bring success? If I stretch out my arms will I feel the edge of what might happen next? I could choose to be a different person in this twilight, this time before the sun’s rising. I could be a warrior on a great sandy plain, driving a sturdy white horse before my chariot, answering the call of duty to defend my castle. I could be a pilot, arriving at the still-dark hangar to inspect my plane, going meticulously through my pre-flight checklist, ready to fly over enemy territory and report back to my commander. But maybe I’m just a veterinarian, returning to my quiet living room office to read my patient’s stories. Maybe nothing much changes, and I sit and watch the light return to the day through my front window. I’ll be ready to dream the next time the sun comes.
Flash Fiction by Wendy Jensen
Wendy Jensen grew up in three different countries, landing finally in New Hampshire with her husband to practice homeopathic house-call veterinary medicine, play violin, and raise her children. She received her veterinary degree from Cornell in 1987. Dissatisfied by traditional practice, in 1990 she left to spend four years working for PeTA and then PCRM, where she discovered homeopathy. She obtained her certification in veterinary homeopathy from the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy (AVH) in 1994, after which she served as Executive Editor for the AVH’s Journal for 12 years. She has published numerous articles in holistic animal health magazines, and lectures for the AVH, other homeopathic and human health organizations, breed clubs, and schools. She published The New World Veterinary Repertory (Narayana Verlag) with co-author Dr. Richard Pitcairn, and her own textbook The Practical Handbook of Veterinary Homeopathy: Healing Our Companion Animals from the Inside Out (Black Rose Writing), which is required reading for the veterinary homeopathy training program.