It is autumn, cold and crisp. A playful wind rides the swings. A young girl stands in the park, her hands deep in her pockets. She is watching, listening, waiting. Rusty chains creak, holding onto swinging seats.  A brisk, westerly wind drags dark, heavy-laden clouds across the sky. Tall trees bend. Flayed leaves scatter into the air from bony branches. The breeze nips the girl’s ears. She pulls down her pink, woolly hat, and fastens her coat. Brittle, rusty-coloured leaves rattle and scrape along the path. They flutter like butterflies, twisting and turning. She watches them, chases them. The wind stops. The leaves drop. She stops.

A gate squeaks. A man enters the park. He wears a long, well-worn, black overcoat, and a green woollen hat. Around his neck is a yellow scarf which falls back over his shoulder. He is carrying a brown rucksack. He kicks at the leaves on the path. A dog follows him––it barks, jumps, and chases the wind-blown leaves across the grass.

The girl sits on a swing, lifts her feet off the ground, swings, and watches the man. He stands by a tree, places his hand on it, and seems to whisper to it, then throws a stick. The dog barks excitedly. He says something, it sits down, and looks at him expectantly. The man walks away across the field. He shouts, and the dog chases the stick. The man waits. The wind tousles his white hair; he combs it back with his fingers. His yellow scarf flaps wildly, whipping his shoulder. The dog comes back, runs circles around him, drops the stick, jumps playfully into the air, catches leaves in its jaws, and barks, waiting.

The wind gusts again. A cluster of leaves rise in its grip, swirl in the air , swarming like bees, then drop, scattered haphazardly along the path.
Dust blows into my eyes, instinctively I close them. A large shadow glides over me. I shiver. Like a dark carpet it glides over the grass. The sun hidden, as though behind a cloud. The air feels cold – in the shadow.  Beating wings pass over me. I open my eyes. The man, the girl, the tree and the dog have gone. I am alone. The wind whips a strap into my eyes.

Behind me, in the distance, a dog barks, the wind blows, and a large bird-like shape glides over the hills. I turn to look, shielding my eyes against the sun, pull my hat tighter over my head, and watch, as the wind rides the swings, rusty chains creak, and leaves flutter along the path.