On Thursdays, Maude used to turn her back on the fields. She'd hike the seven miles to town, black "panama" shading what it could of her magnificence, crocheted bag craving bundles and the mail. At one o'clock, she'd turn with the sun, toward home visiting her way back -- house by house, waking each cool veranda with her shrill "halloo" "Anyone to home? Charles will fetch me bye and bye." We'd gather like chicks at the arrival of black silk clucking a week's supply of village news selected along with floor wax, dried figs, and spools of thread to meet her needs. It always seemed so still when Charles had honked and Maude had lumbered off the porch. Mounted next to Charles, she flivvered out of sight, returning to the rhythm and the shadows of the farm. There, with the pasture tilted at her kitchen door, the mountain shortened all her afternoons. At dusk the bulb-lit milkroom banged and clanged like bells, its stone floor swirling with water from the brook. Wildcats and arbutus, late corn and a blind dog filled that world at the end of the road. Noons, the butter melted on new-m ade bread while locusts chided the resting scythe.