Friday, August 6, 2010
Virginia left her small cottage, and ambled down the now familiar path.
She opened the door of the small, rickety shed only a few feet from the main house.
I musn't forget my tools, Virginia scolded herself.
She grabbed for her basket, lodged in the small, dark, weather beaten shed at the foot of the overgrown path.
A pair of worn, dirt encrusted gloves, and her mother's shears were neatly tucked inside the basket.
Just as Virginia had left them the day before,
and every day she had taken her walk.
Virginia was a creature of habit, taking solace in her quiet strolls among the unmanicured grounds of the old estate.
With basket in hand, she followed the trodden grass path from the open clearing as it stretched out in front of her.
With each step, she moved ever more deeply into her sanctuary.
As the path wound through the patchy, wooded area, dappled sunlight streamed through the branches of the maple trees.
Trillium were abundant. Their tiny white heads peeped through the verdant carpet saying Look at Me.
Virginia reveled in the quiet sounds of a light breeze as it whispered through the trees.
The scampering of a ground squirrel made her giggle as it danced in the underbrush.
Virginia's heart was soothed by the cooing of the mourning dove.
Yes, this was peace to her. Necessary unction for a restless mind.
Townspeople claimed it was odd, living as she did,
a young woman alone in the tiny rock cottage her father had built.
Small children were taken by her sweet smile.
Young men lost track of their thoughts when she sauntered by.
Women her own age couldn't help but feel pity for her, alone as she was in the world.
Yet all were mystified when Virginia protested she would never yolk herself to another.
Never bear children.
Never follow the path of womanhood.
Sure, Virginia had been carefully taught how to cook, sew, and tend a house.
She had even had occasion to care for her younger siblings.
That was all before.
Before her father had taken ill.
Then her mother.
Finally, the younger children fell too, in quick succession.
Within a month, Virginia had found herself the sole survivor.
There were no aunts, uncles, grandmothers nor grandfathers to carry her out of her grief.
Only the comfort of nature could reassure her that life was a worthy pursuit.
Every breath a miracle itself.
Every sunrise an occasion for celebration.
It came to be, every day she walked.
Her senses opened more, and more the further she traveled from the confinement of the cottage.
The deeper into the thicket she went, the more alive she felt.
Virginia spent hours wandering through the now familiar woods surrounding the place where she was born. She would gather fancies to bring back to the residence.
Her mother's shears would cut delicate wildflowers, or snip other foliage Virginia chose to bring into her barren abode.
Her grandmother's basket would be the vehicle to bring all the day's treasure home.
Yes, Virginia's daily wanderings allowed her mind, as well as her body, to ramble.
Today, as she meandered home from an especially heavily wooded path, Virginia was startled to come upon the missing watering can.
Missing since the season before their deaths.
Virginia had a sudden flash of recall.
Her mother, upon returning from her own short walk, complained she has misplaced the watering can somewhere unfathomable.
"I am afraid, my dear Virginia, we shall not be able to water the peonies," was her mother's lament.
Instinctively, when Virginia came upon the weathered vessel, with its patina almost matching the vines that clung to it, Virginia thrust her hand out, grabbing a hold of the weary handle.
Vines had grown in and through the handle, making her attempts at freeing the vessel impossible.
Virginia stopped her vain attempt to loose the imprisoned can.
She stumbled two steps backward, almost fell really, then righted herself as she gently put down her basket of delicacies.
Her body stood stock still, eyes locked onto the image of the vine encrusted watering can.
Her chest, slowly at first then faster as the seconds ticked by, heaved ever more deeply with each breath.
Finally, the constriction eased, her focus widened.
Breathe, Breathe. Virginia coached herself as she attempted to soothe her rampaging thoughts.
It is only mother's lost can.
Now I have found it.
Now I have found it.
I shall let it be.
I shall let it be.
This piece was inspired by the photo provided by Magpie Tales at