The Meadow

Posted by Leah on 5/19/2021 3:42:41 PM

I wrote this story a few years ago, in 2019, for my niece. Much of it is taken from real life, though it is a work of fiction. I hope you enjoy it as much as my niece does. 

She walked down the well beaten path through the woods, the sun dappling through the trees, seeming to transport her to another world.
It wasn’t a long hike, but Emma was unable to make it often –the duties of home and school proving too much of a burden. But because of this burden she made the trip as often as possible.

While it was her destination that ultimately brought Emma the most joy, the entire journey worked gentle wonders. The crackle of fallen leaves under foot, the melodious song of birds, the comforting scent of pines and maples, the whispered sigh of the breeze through the trees; it all worked in tandem to energize and relax her.

Emma paused at the meadow’s edge. The sound of the main road had long since disappeared; all she heard were the sounds of nature. Emma looked, making sure there were no other people around. Her only company a deer grazing quietly along the tree line.

She meandered through the meadow, her fingers absorbing the feeling of the tall, sun baked grass. Reaching the center, Emma looked around once more. Solitude was the goal, and no one was to spoil it. Blissfully alone, she lay down in the grass, knowing the height of the stalks would hide her from the view of any passerby on the trail. The stresses of the real world melting away, healing her. Sighing deeply, consuming the restorative warmth of the late summer afternoon sun and the soft ground beneath her; the hum of crickets and cicadas filled Emma’s ears. It felt as though she were sinking into the place, becoming one with it. Emma loved this time of year, this time of day. She loved how the sun’s slowly setting light cast a golden hue across the dried grass, giving everything a magical look. Even the gnats gliding overhead seemed to sparkle.
If there were a heaven, this is what it would look like, she thought.

Lying as she was always brought her such peace, both of mind and of spirit. But whether it be for a minute, an hour, or a day, it was never long enough. Eventually Emma would have to make the trek home. Home – the place where her bedroom was actually the laundry room, shared with her little brother. Where her step sisters and brothers got their own rooms and anything else they wanted. Where Emma’s mother and step father constantly nagged her to mind her brother, and the dogs, and the cats, and her chores, while the rest did nothing. A girl of ten shouldn’t bear so much hardship, and yet she had no choice in the matter. And so Emma did and tried the best she could, knowing it would never be enough.

Her only salvation and joy came from this place –the meadow – and her time here. She focused not on stress or worries, (for such things had no meaning here), but only on enjoying the moment.
As the sun began to set, Emma realized it was time to start for home. She stood up and brushed herself off, the crumbs of nature falling silently to the ground.

Her shoulders sagged at the thought of going home, especially when winter was fast approaching and her next visit may be months off. But Emma was a part of the place, and it a part of her. She may not be able to visit in person for months, but her memories and thoughts of it were enough to get her through.

She stood taller and straighter on the way home, renewed and determined to face her stresses head-on.