Leaves of orange and red rustled in the breeze above her. She loved the forest, the solitude. Here she could be truly alone with her memories, indulge her senses to the full with no eyes to watch. She danced, spinning in circles, trancing passing patterns in piles of past years leaves now brown and gold. She smiled, giving voice to her joy, for the birds and woodland creatures alone.
Stopping to recline on a weathered stump she glanced at its aged rings. So had her life been, circles growing outward, growing stronger. Within lay the marks of time, the storms, the years of want, the years of plenty, the years its heart had near frozen. She stroked the smooth surface in understanding. The tree no longer lived here, converted to furnishings it now enjoyed a different existence, yet its roots remained, the story of its life embalmed like a woodland throne.
Her eyes reached up to the sky above, shafts of sunlight patterning the canopy, as the sun broke through the cloud transforming the air to gold. She sucked in her breath at the beauty of it all. Why couldn’t life always be like this? Why didn’t people seem to understand?
She thought about the ugliness of her job, the sordid squalor of the city streets. She wanted to help, to make a difference, yet it so often ended the same. Young lives grew distorted in the urban landscape.
Perhaps if she brought them here, perhaps here they too could be free to grow, to expand? Funding was always short, but she had wealthy clients also. Perhaps they’d see it if she brought them here. Perhaps they too might benefit? A picture formed in her head, something simple, nothing grand, just a place they could come out here in the woods where rich and poor might mingle, might learn from the world around them, might grow strong and healthy. Despite her studies she fought a losing battle, but here, perhaps here, one might turn the tide?