The Dust Devil

A dust devil appeared in the field nearby my home. Since I becoming a professional writer, I have spent most of the day writing on my shaded porch. The dust devil intensified and grew in height to a hundred yards. A wind whistled across the cornices of my porch roof.

Dreamer that I am, I imagined that someone was singing around the corner of my home. Singing in a whisper at first, then chanting, and louder still until the full throaty song prickled my ear.

“Yes, I am here…”, said the Dust Devil.

He approached and grew tall near my porch. He sang until I remembered him from my youth. I knew his face, there went his singing mouth, circling high up in the airspace above me. He still had that slight curve to the West, and a billows-worth of dust at his feet.

He shambled around in a circle. I moved closer to the edge of the porch. He sang himself forward. Yes, of course, I knew him. Perhaps, I had once been fond of him.

As a boy, I would run and pursue him across the dusty fields and roads. I could not remember which roads and what fields, but I knew his song. I knew the sting of dust on my face, and his laughter at my squinted eyes. I put my hand on his side as he sang.

“It’s so solitary in the Summer now. I saw you and sought to bring you out to play with me again today. Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten me.”

His song blinded me. I remembered the happy times he chased me over fields and down hills and across the roads. Oh, which road was it?

“Yes! You see! I was with you. A dust devil, chasing and being chased.”

He stopped singing and heaved a deep sigh. A billowing nimbus of reddish clouds of dust, each swirling like little planets, surrounded me and lightly stung my exposed arms and face.

“Remember the fields? I whirled over them all, lorded over them all! You lost your way in a corn field. I rose high and guided you out onto the road. I would even sing at night! The crickets, respectful creatures, would silence at my approach. I could cover the moon in red and rattle your bedroom window panes. Ah, the summer nights!”

“Long years I followed you, even before you could fully walk, my old friend. You noticed me! Me. Your toddler eyes recognized me. Thus, I knew you. Know you. Remember you. We grew up together.”

He swirled away in a frenzy, rising tall and wide. The sky became red with his breath. Red with dust.

“Long I swirled through different fields and different roads and with other boys and girls and even in different times and climes, but I could find no place like your place. So, I looked for you, who had noticed me and played with me.”

He became small. His twirling slowed. The sky became blue. The sting of dust stopped.

“I was your inspiration. You know I was! I was your unfathomable beauty. Unable to touch me, you sang of me and wrote of me. You are great because of me! And now look. Look. I will soon be gone, driven into the ground like the dust from which you yourself are made. We are brothers returning to earth, yet I always go first.”

His was now a mere circular breeze on the dusty ground.

“My friend, I will die soon. Sing to me again. Tell me that you love me, a windy phantom, touch me one last time.”

But I could not. I finally remembered the road on which I ran from that cornfield chasing that Dust Devil. And the truck that ran over me and crippled me and put me in this wheelchair. And the same sting on my face and the same song in my ear.

“Yes, I am here…”