Fly, Birds, Fly!

Somewhere between Michigan and West Virginia, we moved into a small brick house near a huge cornfield. On our first day there, my brother and I went exploring. As we carefully trod (like Indians) along the road’s shoulder, we reached a spot where that cornfield began. A loud cloud of birds flew raucously up into the sky, terrified of human beings.

Witch!” Bob shouted. “Let’s get kids to pay five cents to see the witch.”

You mean I lead the way and—“

Just as we reach this Exact spot,” Bob put his tennis shoe on the place we’d stepped when the quail flew up, “I whisper ‘go witch go’ and you–”

I’ll raise up my arms and say ‘Fly, birds, fly!”

Bob and I were on the same wavelength.

Here, let’s build a cairn so you know when you’ve reached the place.”

Dad had taught us about cairns for marking our way in forests, in case we got lost. A cairn every fifty steps would show the way back to our car or tent.

We gathered little rocks and piled them up as a marker.

The next day, at our new school, my brother, like the reincarnation of P.T. Barnum, hustled up customers during recess. He pocketed a bunch of milk money, promising a Real Witch Show after school let out.

I kept away from the group. The witch had to stay secret until the last minute.

At last, the final bell rang. Children ran out of the building, screaming as if to escape Godzilla.

My brother assembled a curious group near the flag pole. He led them toward our house, a few blocks away, chanting “A witch you will see! Her power is to make wild birds flee!”

I’d run home on fast feet. Waited in the ditch near our house. I smeared dirt on my face and wove weeds into my always-tangled hair. When I heard my brother approaching, his voice low so as not to frighten the quail prematurely, I stood up as tall as I could. I crooked my hands into claws and, eyes wide, teeth bared, hissed:

Who goes there?”

Bob whispered, “Witch, may we pass?”

I crooked a finger and said quietly, “Follow me.”

The kids bunched up together, holding hands, uncertain what might happen.

I crouched into a witchy creep and stepped forward carefully, kids following, Bob at the back, face in a serious scowl. I turned toward the group and hissed,

Fly birds, Fly!” Then stomped a foot right next to the pile of rocks.

Thunderclap of wings and hundreds of quail rushed into the blue sky.

Terrified kids screamed “Mommy!” and ran wildly toward their safe homes.

Bob divied up the money, both of us laughing our heads off.

We were indeed inheritors of our ancestors’ genes, people who’d been gaoled on the Isle of Wight for “thievery, plots against the King and the practicing of witch-craft.”

Author: dixiewriter

Due to my father's job as an explorer/cartographer, my family moved 48 times before I turned 13. We lived where Dad worked: on mountain tops (in park ranger cabins), in deserts, swamps, along coastlines from Maine to Key West & other wild places. My father mapped parts of Antarctica, living there for 8 months in 1961-62. A mountain peak & a glacier are named after him (William C. Elder, USGS) As an adult, I helped Lars Eric Lindblad (then president of World Wildlife) find out about the migration path of Silverback gorillas (from Tanzania into Kenya). On my information, he chose to move Lindblad Travel's photographic safari camps to accommodate these wonderful creatures. I got a Jimmy Carter grant to teach after I graduated from Madison College. Grantees had to sign up to teach for at least a year in a severely impoverished school anywhere in America. I taught for 3 & 1/2 years in SW Virginia near Bluegrass Central (Galax, VA). I taught 7th-9th grade English, Drama, Journalism. I was the forensics coach. Moved to Connecticut & worked for Lars Lindblad, typing up the manuscript for his autobiography, working with Liz & John Fuller on this book. (They co-wrote "Ghost of Flight 415" & other books about unusual phenomenon. Moved to Colorado in 1982. Worked as "gal friday" for 12 detectives at the Boulder Police Dept. Set up files for DA to use in court amongst other things. Then at a law firm. Next, CU/Boulder for 10 years. At CU, workers could take a free course each semester. So I did 5 Master's levels courses in special ed' & many in creative writing/history/religion & other subjects at the Master's level. I taught "Drama for the Disabled" in Boulder, CO after the teacher had to quit due to health issues. It was wonderful! My last 7 years working, I helped adults/teens/children with various brain differences such as autism. I was diagnosed at age 45 with 3 types of seizures, manic depression (atypical, rarely depressions, mostly manias), OCD & PTSD. At age 67 (!!) this diagnosis was changed. The manias are most likely due to temporal lobe "disturbance." The other symptoms are due to "high functioning" autism or Asperger's. Shock!! I do Tai Chi 3x/day which helps me to calm down. My husband & I work out at a gym 3-5 times/week for balance mostly but also weight training, running etc. We climb the beautiful Rocky Mountain High places (like Long's Peak & Maroon Bells) in summertime/autumn. We love archaeology, so when we travel, it's in order to discover ancient sites. My husband is an actor with a "day job." He has performed in shows with Zero Mostel (Fiddler on the Roof, the road show), Dick van Dyke (Diagnosis Murder), Firesign Theatre/John Goodman/Annette Bening et al. (Wizard of Oz/radio show) & many other wonderful people since age 14. We have traveled to: Iceland, Scotland (twice), Germany (3 times to visit friends), Ireland & fascinating places in America. We usually spend a month when we travel. So we go about every 5-6 years. Otherwise, we stay at home in a town in Colorado, attending Poetry sessions, working in local theater, enjoying our shelter rescue cats, writing, painting & dancing.

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