The sun played idly on the water, cresting the gentle ripples created by the lazy rocking of his boat. It was a perfect summer’s day, the sort of day where concerns melt away and the mind is consumed instead with the singing of the birds and the sighing of the trees. It is true to say that at this moment the shadow had passed. The darkness had, for a brief period, succumbed to the sunlight dappling through the trees. Peace and happiness reigned, but not the sort that go on. The sort that end and that are made sweeter by the very fact that one knows they must soon be relinquished. This is what Tristan felt as he rowed purposefully down the Honeydew River, breathing in the various fragrances of his childhood, and quietly bidding farewell.
He saw the Old Elm tree that had so often been the sight of bold and adventurous deeds: the slaying of a dragon perched on its ancient bows or the saving of a maiden chased by evil captors. He saw old Mr. Samuel’s orchard, bursting now with the fragrance of Jonagold apples and Mrs. Smith’s vegetable patch, pristine and orderly as ever. And then he saw a little cottage, a little weathered around the edges admittedly, but homely and welcoming nonetheless. The front door was open and through it wafted the smells of a hearty English breakfast and the sounds of laughter and good company. A vine meandered purposefully up the stone walls of the cottage, spreading its green foliage and laden with tiny grapes. But as he watched, the happiness and peace pervading the cottage seemed to darken, and the brightness faded to a dismal grey. Tristan looked at the cottage, sensing again the haunting presence of the shadow. The brief interlude of sunlight had diminished; the peace and happiness had been relinquished. Taking up his oars, he rowed with renewed vigour onward to the Great Sea and to a future full of doubts and uncertainties that one way or another would be resolved.