The Trek

We were warned. “There are grave risks to crossing that unforgiving land.”

I set the pace. Our cow, her calf, my daughter, wife, and babe of four months following me. Lips blistered, soles of my feet cracked, I move determinedly toward the border. After thirteen days, we are parched. The calf is emaciated because we’ve squeezed its mother’s teats to near emptiness, claiming her milk as our own. And then, a freak of nature. Torrential rain. Cow and calf tethered to nearby scruff, we huddle as darkness falls. Lightning strikes. The calf slips its noose, rushing headlong into the gully. That rocky dry earth unable to absorb the storm. The cow is screaming across the arroyo as her calf flails and disappears.

We survived that terrible night. Followed that implausible creek and crossed the border: my daughter, wife, and babe of four months.

Posted to dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today is Prosery Monday where flash fiction collides with poetry. Linda is hosting and we are to include the line “A cow is screaming across the arroyo”  – a line from Jim Harrison’s poem entitled Cow – in our piece of flash fiction that must be 144 words or less, sans title. Photo from Pixabay.com
An arroyo is a deep-sided gully formed by fast-flowing water in an arid or semi-arid region.

37 thoughts on “The Trek

    • lillian December 9, 2019 / 3:10 pm

      Ah, you are too kind, Linda! Drizzly cold day here….perfect for a cow to just stand and chew his cud! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Lee Lyberg December 9, 2019 / 3:12 pm

        Haha! Yes. It’s drizzly and chilly here too.

        Like

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) December 9, 2019 / 3:38 pm

    This was a great story for except for the calf… I like the fact that we never learn which border they are crossing… but rain in the desert is rare.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2019 / 6:00 pm

      Yes….the sudden down burst in a dessert is rare and creates flooding immediately as the ground cannot absorb the water. It is a cataclysmic event when it occurs….however rare.

      Like

  2. kim881 December 9, 2019 / 3:48 pm

    The warning sets up the story, Lill; although we know what to expect, we still want to find out what will happen. I love the way you evoke the desert heat through the blistered lips and cracked feet. The poor calf and cow; such a tragic story, and a story of human survival.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. msjadeli December 9, 2019 / 4:30 pm

    Well-told tale of survival; there will always be casualties. The photo is breathtaking!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2019 / 6:01 pm

      Glad you enjoyed. I find that Pixabay never disappoints….free images to download. It’s always my go-to.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Glenn A. Buttkus December 9, 2019 / 4:51 pm

    Very nice pioneer tale, and your desert lore is keenly accurate. You imply a flash flood, but don’t name it. I have witnessed flash floods on the desert; they can be killers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2019 / 6:02 pm

      Exactly! The ground simply cannot absorb the sudden deluge.

      Like

  5. rivrvlogr December 9, 2019 / 6:51 pm

    This tale of hardships faced by those seeking asylum should be a reminder of how hard life must be that they would take such risks to find a new life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2019 / 6:03 pm

      Exactly. I kept in my mind, the image and idea of immigrants today, risking everything to escape a punishing land or regime….and finding the trek so arduous . . . hoping to find freedom.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Truedessa December 9, 2019 / 8:34 pm

    I can feel the storm take shape, the sudden flooding and the loss of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2019 / 6:04 pm

      Glad you could feel that……words sometimes are difficult to capture an occurrence and its destruction.

      Like

  7. Na'ama Yehuda December 9, 2019 / 8:49 pm

    Poor calf …
    Would’a likely been separated from his momma after he crossed the border, anyhow … Still, poor calf and mama cow.
    Well done, Lillian!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2019 / 6:06 pm

      Oh yes. I think of those trying to escape their own country where they were persecuted or faced starvation…and the horrible trek the undertake to find a better life. We take for granted turning on a faucet and finding clean water….putting on a coat, hat and gloves to face the cold weather outside. How desperate these people must be to begin and continue on these journeys so full of hardship.

      Like

      • lifelessons December 12, 2019 / 7:07 pm

        Exactly, and how cold does a heart have to be to overlook it?

        Like

    • lillian December 12, 2019 / 6:07 pm

      Yes….for the animals – but there is hope for the family.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. gillena cox December 10, 2019 / 12:10 pm

    So very credible and though happy at the humans survival, sad for both calf and cow

    Much✏love

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2019 / 6:07 pm

      Exactly. Thank you for reading Gillena!

      Like

    • lillian December 12, 2019 / 6:08 pm

      Yes….taken for their sustenance rather than their companionship, the cows are lost but there is hope for the family as they read the border and hope for a new future.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. sarahsouthwest December 10, 2019 / 2:18 pm

    Those desert storms are so dangerous. I really felt for this little family and their desperation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2019 / 6:08 pm

      Thank you, Sarah. Oh yes….flash floods in the dessert can really really be dangerous.

      Like

  10. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar December 10, 2019 / 6:16 pm

    …like a journal entry one treasures of their past history. We all know this is a tale that is not so fictional… Enjoyed the read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2019 / 6:09 pm

      Yes. Sadly, this trek of too real for those trying to escape persecution, starvation, difficulty in their home countries…trying to find a better life.

      Like

  11. Christine Irving December 10, 2019 / 6:55 pm

    I went with a flash flood as well. I’m just beginning to read through the other poems – it will be interesting to see how many of us went there- though what with both “arroyo’ and ‘flash’ egging us on it isn’t a huge leap! I really liked how masterfully you took us along with you,fore foreshadowing the calf’s demise with near starvation really worked.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2019 / 6:10 pm

      Glad you enjoyed, Christine.

      Like

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