Around the Bend
by gina below
The old dirt road was muddy, damp and seldom traveled anymore and the heavy spring rains had wreaked havoc in some places and would require repair before too much longer. Old leaves and twigs littered the fence line and heavier limbs lost in the last southern storm lay cracked and splintered on the path ahead. Mossy green patches peeked through the rusty browns of winter leaves and the birds called happily from their hiding places. Through the trees the fields of winter rye grass glistened in the early morning sun as the warm spring breeze danced through the long emerald green blades.
The path calls to me as it always has, ever since my husband and I had become caretakers of this beautiful piece of earth and I feel the little tomboy of my youth smile inside. I breathe deeply the wonderful smells of the woodlands and I can almost hear my childhood call from behind the trees. “If I hurry I could catch it,” flickers across my thoughts before I can stop it. I laugh to myself at the thought of the pixie smile of my sister peering from behind the old oak tree in the bend up ahead and it makes me happy to know we share these same memories no matter what woodlands we wander or how far apart we are.
The large deep mud puddles require some navigation on my part, but had it been forty years earlier it would have been the game of the moment just to see if I could jump it. But today my old work boots and I stick to the higher ground and the least muddy section of the path. But the day is young and I am assured that my play clothes and I will be pleasantly filthy before the sun slides behind the tree tops on its way into night.
The path begins to bend and I stop to survey the damage from the last heavy rain and contemplate repairs like a good grown up and somewhere out of the corner of my eye I see it. Holding strong despite the devastation and damage around it, the first sure sign of spring, the Daffodil. My heart sings and the tomboy inside me breaks free as I slosh through the ankle deep puddle toward it. As I greet it with a smile I am bombarded with memories of laughter, and handfuls of bright yellow bouquets stuck in mason jars, and brightly colored Easter eggs hiding beneath them. The gasp of childlike wonder as they pick their first ones with the stems too short to fit in any vase and Mother’s praise as if she had never seen anything so lovely in her life. Ever lovely, here among the mud and leaf litter, around the bend, joy arrives.