Silt and A Steer…

Elizabeth Ricketson
2 min readSep 25, 2023

--

Out of state license plates now fill local parking spots. Virginia, California buzz by us as we start out on our hike along the river…

Officially it is Autumn. The trees have begun to warm in color. Hilltops boast golden hues. Alizarin too…

Passed fields of mud. The flooding rains of summer had left their reminder. While the waters have receded, the land is still burdened. Heavy equipment dots the many acres. Mounds of silt several feet high…

We come to a fork in the road. Pausing we admired a new home being constructed in the distance. It proudly sits on a gorgeous stretch of land. My husband and I wonder if it will be a primary residence or seasonal. To the left we choose. A narrow dirt road with a sporty climb…

We near a farm we have passed countless times. I reminded Jon about the tourists we encountered last autumn trespassing on the property to capture the perfect Vermont scene. Boldly they creeped with no apology….

Pick-up trucks times three hugged close to the barn. The structure quite grand. Men moving about and near a small pen. Surprised we were about the flurry of activity. Continue we did. As we approached the fenced in rocky and sloping pasture a gunshot sliced through the still air. Steely and crisp the sound echoed. Startled I thought it a hunter. We turned in the direction of the barn. A gun still in one farmer’s hand. Precise. Swift and well-practiced. Nearly like it never happened. A black steer’s still body hoisted up and placed onto a pick-up truck…

I kept looking back to understand what had just happened. Was the steer unwell? Lame? Had he been sold? A winter’s supply? We walked slowly. Our hearts now heavy. Different than we were just minutes ago. Conversation, minimal. The harsh realities of life on a farm occupied our thoughts and conversation…

“Farming isn’t just a job. It’s a way of life.” — Unknown

Shaken we headed towards the river. The narrow dirt road washed out. Impossible to travel. Trees uprooted taking the bank with them. Culverts failed under the flooding waters. Silt decorated tree roots. Wildflowers in shades of lavender and yellow lined the road. Ferns exploded along the river’s edge…

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” –Henri Matisse

--

--

Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts.