The wind purrs through the trees. A crow caws at a distance. A cardinal darts for a feeder in the yard, its wings not quiet silent. On the deck, I hear the clack of the wooden wind chimes, the tink tink of the copper ones. My ears are attuned to this world.
But my eyes are lost in greenery. Not twenty yards away the woods rise. Pines. Oaks. Magnolias. Other trees I cannot name. And blackberry brambles drip with yet unripened fruit. Things are hiding there, though with a little effort I can see them.
Shadows sweep past with wings. Perhaps there are birds high in the air casting them. My mind tells me there are birds. But I do not see the birds; I cannot swear they are there. A moment ago a long silken blackness raced down the bare trunk of a pine. I saw it clearly, an animal shape some three feet long with a sleek head and long tail. It took a while for my mind to say anything about that. It told me I’d seen the shadow of one pine swaying past another in the wind. But I don’t believe it.
I don’t believe it because of the Rorschach scarecrow who conceals himself just below that spot in the bushes. He is painted shades of green and black, and blends so well with his surroundings that the wind blurs his outline. Sometimes I see only his eyes. Sometimes I see the ratty top hat he wears. I’ve never seen his mouth. I don’t know if he smiles. I wonder if he has teeth.
But he is watching me, very very quietly watching me. I suspect the silk-black animal is his familiar.
I wonder if the scarecrow and I can be friends. Should I invite him up on the deck? Would he come? My mind is divided on this subject. One part says the scarecrow cannot leave the woods or he will die in the bright sun. Another part says he’s already here, standing at my shoulder.
I wonder if I should turn my head.