She inched slowly across the carpet of ferns. The unceasing fog cloaked her aging body. From the tree tops, the feathered ones sang their timeless melodies.
Her solitude cloaked between the woven limbs of trees. Trapped inside of eternity. The green joy.
Her bittersweet memories had become a heavy burden. A sunlight eclipsed by the darkest of clouds. There she had dwelt for so many years trapped inside her mind. "I wish He would take me. I am ready.", she once told her grandson years ago. How could anyone understand her pain?
Along the mossy emerald path, she inched toward the old totem pole that marked where they had grown their magical gardens together. Here time had no meaning. This ethereal space made her forget the loss. There hung the rotted and forgotten Purple Martin boxes. Once they were home to so many, but now they had disappeared from the skies. Only the boxes served as reminders that they once existed.
Her glorious gardens even had pheasants once! There they would roost up into the dark branches of the forest watching her tend strawberry patches, dill, kohlrabi, ground cherries(her favorite) and so much more! But they had also vanished. She tried to imagine it all as it once was.
She remembered the happiest times here. Those moments had seemed like yesterday but in reality happened decades ago. Each moment to be cherished. Each person to be embraced. Never knowing what tomorrow would bring. She was the spent dandelion that blew apart in the wind. And all those who had clung to her had drifted away.
Once they all celebrated together in these woods and gardens. There she had laughed with her family under the dappled sunlight. But now the grasses had reclaimed the gardens. Only the stubborn rhubarb remained. This green joy. A melancholy. The happiest of memories grown over by moss and lichen.
"A curse. Outliving all the people you love.", she once said. She had remembered how she was a central figure to her family. Needed. Wanted. Somehow life had become busier than she once remembered. Her sons had their own families and life was passing by much too quickly for them to notice. Secondary. Forgotten.
The gentle grasses of the prairies gradually gave way to the suburbs. Gravel roads became paved. The meadow covered by dirt. Butterflies that once fluttered freely were hung onto walls and remembered. Familiar haunts had also disappeared. She had a godchild that wrote her every week. Her frail hands dutifully ticked away back on the old typewriter next to her vase of ground cherries, pussy willows or fragrant roses. Her own hand writing had become chicken scratch due to the arthritis.
And she remembered the old days. Often. Horse drawn wagons replaced by cars. Scarlet fever had claimed the lives of her parents by the time she was 14 years of age. There she lived on a farm with her Aunt for the rest of those teenage years.
She had outlived all of it. Her eyesight grew weak. Her crooked hands carefully guided a wrinkled body to the tree where she first met him. Years later, he'd hold her hand after a near death experience. "Please don't go." he pleaded, "You're my best friend." She squeezed his hand back and this man of rare emotion kissed her. She would survive. Memories of past and present collided together.
This place had become a sanctuary. Before, the prairie grass had grown tall protecting the forest and gardens from the outside world. Today, she could see a road nearing her paradise. The prairie grass cut. The milkweed gone. The young sugar maple where she met her true love was now old and twisted. There they sat again at the wrinkled trunk. Helicopters swirled about them as they spun to the ground. Ballet dancers.
Within this moment, she is at peace. Her green joy is revealed. Renewed.
As the night seized this day, she gazed into the starlight and remembered it all.