Water from cascades down the hill, into the pond.
Where the water enters, there's a circle of water in the pond. Surrounding that circle of water, the pond is ice and snow.
The warmth of spring is beginning to melt the ice. Will the warmth of spring thaw me too, thaw all the bitterness, hurt, and hopelessness?
I remember coming to this place 12 years ago with friends. It was a time in my life when I was thriving. That was a high point in my life. Things started to go downhill a few months after that day. They kept going downhill. The lowest point was 7 years ago. Since then, I've been trying to put my life back together. It doesn't fall into place with ease.
But some things can't be forced. If I don't have health, if I don't have friends, so be it. Sometimes I just have to keep walking with what I've got.
I've come here with other people other times since that day 12 years ago. Twice last year I came here with someone. One time, I frolicked on the playground with my sister. I love it when someone will go on the swings with me. The other time, my friend scaled a tree to bring back a sprig of alder catkins. That's how I know that those trees beside the water with the catkins are alder.
I've been here with people, and I've been here alone, and I love it both ways. I don't like going on walks with people who make too much noise and don't see what is around them, but I like going with people who let nature be a part of the conversation.
What I love about being out here is the timelessness, the way the rest of my life slips away. I think it's no more than a mile from my home, and yet, I'm a world away.
Look, that stump looks like a head with wild hair growing out of it.
I start to make my way back. I'm still out in nature, but consciousness of the world I'm going to return to floods back, and I fill with sadness.
I'm heading back now, set on my goal. But then my attention is caught. A flash of color. In the grayness of March, there's a splash of red. Once again, nature draws me in. I follow the pull, drawing closer to the splash of color, slithering down the slope to the edge of the water.
Now I'm practically back to civilization, walking on a paved path, and suddenly I realize that I can see the world in a puddle on the pavement.