Relaxation. Relief. Wandering, thinking, dreaming. My morning drifted by quickly, and the afternoon was going by in a flash. Time seemed to have changed meanings. The watch ticked by at lightning speed, but my thoughts slowed down. I was out tromping through the fields, my eyes absorbing my surroundings, but my mind was trying to escape. It kept drifting to all the recent events and the old memories too.
One vision kept coming back, stronger and stronger. I remember being very young and pulling branches around in a forest with a friend. We had plans to build a fort I think. Slowly some other images came back too. My father was there, I remembered, encouraging us and helping us put it all together. This was, perhaps, my only memory of my father before he was broken.
A great longing came over me to find that place, to find that memory. I had no idea which way to head. Through my binoculars though I could see a large forest in a valley on the other side of the concession road, beckoning.
As I reached the forest a strange sense of peace came over me. I was sure I was in the right place. I looked for trees I recognized, but there were none. They would have grown over the years. A little deeper in the forest I found an apple tree, and suddenly more memories came rushing back. Perhaps it was my mother, or my father, or both, that had taken me here. I remembered laughter and joy, and love.
I wandered further in, looking up at the sky above, and around me at the fresh green growth. Suddenly the sparkle of water caught my attention. There was a lake here? It was exactly the sort of thing I wanted, the place I had been longing to find, but I hadn't known where to look.
I pushed through the bush and nearly stepped into the pond. It was bigger than a pool, but smaller than a lake, and the water was as clear as a perfectly cut diamond. I pulled out my birdwatching binoculars and scanned the far shore in detail. There was a small beach, but for the most part it was bordered by dense bush, although the south corner was marshy, hinting at a hidden stream.
A glimpse of purple that could only belong to the clothes of a girl caught my eye. She stepped out onto the sand, not a girl but a thin, willowy young woman. She intently slipped off her sandals and walked delicately down to the lake. I watched her stare into the water and then dip her feet into the water, tentatively at first, but then with more enjoyment. She walked out into the water until she was about waste deep, and then she dived. A few tense moments later her head appeared, her chestnut brown hair dark and dripping. Her face was lit up with laughter and peace.
Then it struck me that I was intruding on her privacy. Guilt and embarrassment washed over me. I should have come to my senses much earlier. I crawled back through the bushes and headed back out of the forest, my attention strangely heightened to my surroundings, and my mind still on the girl in the lake.