by Sandra Arnold

EVERY SPRING THE woman digs her garden wearing the riding boots her daughter wore the day she galloped her horse through the river his hooves shooting spray high into the air each drop twisting and turning in the sunlight and glittering like gems and the horse’s white mane flying in the wind and the rider’s red hair flaring like flames as she raced her horse towards a steep bank that the horse jumped with ease his hooves flicking up the bare earth as he landed at the top with the girl laughing and whooping as they raced towards a higher bank and the sweat glistening on the horse’s flanks and clouds of breath steaming from his nostrils and horse and rider flying in perfect harmony and each spring when the woman plunges her spade into the earth she remembers every detail the farmer told her about standing on his tractor watching a horse and rider galloping through the river and the sheer heart-stopping beauty of the frothing water and the clattering hooves trying to get a grip on the highest bank and the scattering of earth and the whistling wind and the startled birds and the girl’s laughter as she went flying up and up and the horse’s whinnying and then the silence and the pervading scent of wildflowers and the woman feels each beat of the story pulsating through her veins and in her heart when she wears her daughter’s boots to dig in the garden so she can sow the wildflower seeds that grow so sturdy they withstand the strongest wind and bees and butterflies will cover the flowers and birds will scatter the seeds until every last bit of bare empty earth in her garden is filled with their scent and sound and colour.     


Sandra Arnold is an award-winning writer who lives in New Zealand. She is the author of five books including The Ash, the Well and the Bluebell, Mākaro Press, NZ,  and Soul Etchings, Retreat West Books, UK.  Her short fiction has been widely published and anthologised internationally. She has received nominations for The Best Small Fictions, Best Microfictions and The Pushcart Prize.  She has a PhD in Creative Writing from  Central Queensland University, Australia.