Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania photo by donna
Laying the book on the table beside her, the silver-haired woman turns her gaze to the serene view through the window.
Time seems to melt away…
A young girl, long blonde hair streaming behind her like golden ribbons in the glow of the morning sun, runs through the meadow.
Her heels seem to catch the warm summer breeze as she nimbly leaps over the small brook that meanders its way from the mountain headwaters forming a natural and informal border between the meadow and the wild blueberry patch at the edge of the forest.
Reaching the blueberry patch, she slows to a walk and then stops to catch her breath for a moment before deftly plucking a handful of plump ripe blueberries from the low bushes. The girl adjusts the old, but sturdy, knapsack that is slung over her shoulders and begins popping blueberries into her mouth savoring each berry one by one as she continues on the familiar path leading into the sanctuary of the forest.
Entering the coolness of the forest, beams of warm sunlight stream down through the canopy of long reaching branches of tall pin oak and eastern white pines. The girl’s senses are filled with the aroma of dried pine needles fallen in seasons past.
She removes her worn canvas sneakers baring the soles of her feet to the comforting sensation of the fallen pine needles which softly cover the forest floor.
Stowing her shoes in her knapsack, she sets out upstream on the path following the contours of the mountain stream. She setttles into an easy pace listening to the melodious music of the mountain stream as it dances and swirls over and around the sandstone pebbles and cobbles rounded by the waters of uncounted years.
In the near distance, a woodpecker strikes an echoing staccato tattoo.
She arrives to her favorite spot; a natural undercut in the stream bed has created a small waterfall and she steps into the eddy at the base of the falls. The water is cold but feels delightfully refreshing.
Stepping back up onto the stream’s shallow bank, she is careful not to disturb the beautiful lacy moss covering the forest floor like a delicate carpet.
Shaking the knapsack from her shoulders, she plops down on the ground leaning back against a large tree and sighs in delight as she takes the book from her knapsack…
Time melts away…
…As she turns her gaze away from the window, a smile warms the age-worn face of the woman. Slowly, she reaches to pin back a renegade tendril of her long silver hair that has somehow managed to escape the thick braid loosely tied with a ribbon of gold.