She adjusted her big woolen scarf as she walked, and the sound of her soles on the cracking leaves was the only sign of her presence in the woods… She had been there countless number of times, but every visit felt like the first. In the forest, everything was in a perpetual state of changing. The trees grew, flowers bloomed and faded, moss ran on the dead trunks and all happened naturally. Every walk offered her a new scenery, although ever so familiar.
Here everything lived without wondering how, when, where or why… Everything lived without doubt. Life was everywhere, and that’s exactly why she needed to come back every now and then.
She slowed the pace of her steps, as she approached the lake. There was no need to hurry when she was in the wild… She knew it, but the craziness of the city always forced her to a fast walk that reminded her of the pathetic race taking place everyday. Going from home, to work, to appointments, meeting people she didn’t feel like meeting, doing things she didn’t really enjoy doing, rushing, trying to perform, trying to give her best…
Her best, really?
She really just burnt herself trying to fit a puzzle she hadn’t chosen to be a part of. But wasn’t that what all people did? Trying to fit… Trying…
She held her breath when she passed by the last shrubberies hiding the lake. She wondered how something as simple as a big pond of water could stun her everytime like it did again, today. It was just water. A shitload of if, of course, but just water nonetheless. She let out a short burst of laughter, and her voice echoed softly across the lake. Aside from a couple of birds, there was not a sound to disturb the beauty of the scene.
She sat, as close to the water as she could and she listened. For a moment, even the birds stopped chanting and she was wrapped in the deepest of silence. No uneasing silence, hollow, empty or scary. It was more like an envelopping calmness, a soothing blanket thrown on her shoulders, making her close her eyes for a second.
She breathed deeply. The air was crisp, with the first fresh days of early fall. She enjoyed the cold feeling in her nose and throat, the contrast with the warmth of the sun rays… Even in her yoga class, she never attained that level of awareness of her own breathing.
A heron flew by, and the sound of the tall bird shook her off her semi-meditative state. She knew she couldn’t stay too long. It was quite a walk home, and she had tons of things to do…
Had a lot to do… Or so said her day planner.
She surprised herself with the spontaneous scream! Geez, what was that?? Still sitting, she bent over to see her reflexion in the mirror-like water. Yes, it was still her… But it wasn’t like her to do something just like that.
Her gaze followed the surface… The stillness of the lake was almost eerie. She was tempted to pick a rock and throw it as hard and far as her arm would let her, but she suddenly had the feeling if she did, she’d never see perfectly still water again.
She envied the peace that surrounded her. She felt the strange irritation that made her need to shriek raise again. Why? Why did all this beauty trigger such frustration? She pictured herself ripping the scenery to pieces, as if it was an annoying poster stappled to her bedroom’s wall.
Why this rage?
She knew too well why… She was the only one to know.
The pain of losing him was one that had never subsided. Even after years of trying to cope, and years of trying to hide, her grief remained alive like a fire inside of her. Relentlessly, she had tried to fill the emptiness… in vain.
She had learnt to smile again, but she had not found one thing that made her smile spontaneously. Her happiness had been scattered with his ashes, on the waters of this very lake.
She never spoke about it.
No one was worthy of holding her vulnerable heart anymore, and she much prefered things to stay that way. She couldn’t imagine having to listen to anyone’s empty and condescendant advice for her to get better.
Instead she walked to the lake, when she was about to lose it, she walked to the forest, and came here to sit, where they had hidden from this crazy world together. Where they had reinvented their lives more times than she dared to remember…
Still leaning over the water, a tear rolled down her cheek, and broke the stillness of the surface… Her face blurried, and she got up again.
She adjusted her big woolen scarf as she walked, and the sound of her soles on the cracking leaves was the only sign of her presence in the woods…