DESTROYING THE LAND by Granny Annie
It was a beautiful sunlit day. I squinted in my efforts to view the movement on the hillside. Was the figure moving toward us a human or an animal? The feeling was not comfortable with either scenario. No visitors were expected and the prospect of the uninvited guest being a bear was frightening. We had come out for this walk without our phones. We only wanted to enjoy the warmth of the day, the beautiful sights and the petrichor that remained from the last rain. We had not wanted this leisure to be disrupted.
This was our personal space. The other side of the hill was active with trucks rumbling out of the quarry. The carried loads of granite and the closer we got the louder the noise. The figure was within our sight now and recognized as the owner of the quarry. His name was Hudson and he was normally not of a good disposition however he wore a huge smile on his face. This made the encounter more frightening. What did he want from us this time? We thought we had made ourselves clear on his last visit.
Todd and I welcomed the man. We offered him a drink from our canteen, knowing he would be parched from the long hike. He accepted the offer gladly.
The men both sat on the ground but I knew if I joined them I would never get up again. I could only squat to get more on their level and we began to talk.
“What brings you over the hill today?” I ask Mr. Hudson.
He responded, “I was wondering how you were doing over here. Thought it was time for a friendly chat and to catch up.”
My mind clinched and I glanced at Todd. Both of us knew Hudson had a lot more on his mind. “That's nice” I said, “and just what are we catching up on? It wouldn't be copper would it?”
“Come on you guys” Hudson said, “at least consider my offer. It is a fair one and the two of you can't live out here forever. There is a huge demand for copper and you are sitting on a fortune. I have the ability to mine it and you do not. My offer is good and the money would make a great legacy for your children.”
“This property is our legacy for the children” Todd responded, using a harsh tone. “If they want the copper mined they can have that done themselves. We sincerely doubt they will want this beautiful valley destroyed any more than we do.”
“I am guessing your children would rather have the money than the land.” Mr. Hudson replied adamantly.
My anger was showing when I said “You should not have made this long walk Mr. Hudson. We still are not going to sell this place. You best head back to your quarry.”
Mr. Hudson was mumbling as he turned to go back. If we had been mind-readers we would have known he was saying something about bringing more men next time and clearing the place off. He just knew the kids would be easier to deal with if Todd and I were gone.