Anna finally admitted to herself she was lost.
Admitting she was lost was a very easy step. Figuring out HOW she got lost was another matter entirely. It had felt like several hours had passed since she had left the Sunday social at the church. As usual she walked part of the way home with her friend Mary, gossiping about who was wearing what and who was sitting with whom. That part had gone normally, as well as their usual parting at the fork in the trail, but something went wrong somewhere after Mary had departed and Anna took her usual route through the small grove of trees.
Anna had strolled absent mindedly along the path through the trees, thankful that the birch leaves were providing a nice shade from the late summer heat. She strolled and she thought about starting a new year of school and how it would be her last in the tiny fishing community. She had planned on going to train to be a nurse. She would be going to the city.
Anna strolled, and thought, and mused, and pondered about her future for quite some time. It felt easy to get lost in thought on a nice summer day during a fine stroll through the trees, but a small part of her mind began to worry when she came upon an unknown stump.
Anna had walked this path many times to and from the small community church and unconsciously knew every twist in the trail, fallen tree, and unusually large puddle that landmarked her normal route. This stump was new.
The stump, although by itself seemed fairly unremarkable (as far as stumps go), was out of place. Although surrounded by birch, this looked like it was from a much larger tree, one that Anna was not familiar with. This stump was large enough to sit on.
It was at that point that Anna slowed her walk and slowly took in her surroundings. Yes she was still on a trail, but it wasn't HER trail.
Anna shrugged, figuring that she took a wrong turn somewhere. She turned around and head the way she came, looking for another fork in the road that would place her on her normal route. Funny though, she mused, she couldn't recall ever seeing a branching path on her many travels through these woods.
Walking, humming now to try and fight the feeling of uneasiness that came over her, she backtracked along the unknown trail, eyes darting about trying to spot something familiar. When she finally saw something familiar, it wasn't joy or relief that filled her heart, it was dread.
It was the stump again.