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Image by Camila Damásio

Rushing Home (Late One Evening)

(c) Linda Hutchison August 2016

It was late one evening. The stars were clear overhead and clouds dotted the horizon. We sped out of the darkness and joined the pack, waiting on the edges for someone to make the first move. We all watched carefully – none of us wanted to take any chances at this time of night. We all knew the risks. We depended on each other. Were there enough of us to take the next step? We looked around and everyone nodded. We moved forward out of the darkness, up the slight rise into the faint light. We climbed up further, eyes darting back and forth, searching the horizon. A sudden noise to the left, but no, it was nothing. We stopped at the first check point and drew a deep breath.
Listening to the sounds around us, we could hear the rumbling murmur overhead that we had become so used to. In the hills reaching above us, there were the happy calls of families greeting each other. We still had a way to go. We gathered in a pool of light, and checked around us again for signs of threat. The breeze was cool and clear, salty sea air that soothed our souls. It heralded safety – nothing alarming. We called farewell to each other, and headed along the well-worn paths to our lodgings. Some of our friends headed high up the hill, some to the right, and some to the left. Others moved down into the gully. We kept shifting forward. A sudden thud ahead of us made us stop and regroup. A large foreign object impeded our path. We’d seen them before. It wasn’t dangerous. We kept going.    
Soon we reached our homes where our partners were waiting. Loud conversations and dancing cheered the atmosphere. What a relief it was to be safe. We greeted our nearest and dearest, then stood comparing notes about the day. The murmur overhead moved past then away. The lights overhead flickered then went out. The night sky deepened. The lively chatter continued until we had heard that everyone had made it, then we retired to our beds. Another night safe in the penguin colony.

Rushing Home (Late One Evening): Work
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