“not always, but sometimes…the thing you wanted the most is the thing that you now want the least.”
Lucy tugged at the corduroy strap of her pink overalls and listened to the soft crunch of forest beneath her feet. The morning scene drifted in and out of sight, while she tried to focus on the sporadic groupings of trees and the unmarked path winding in front of her.
Freedom fell on her lips in the misty haze cloaking the friendly trees… and she breathed. She welcomed the familiar motion in her chest – rising ever-so-slightly while the pure oxygen gathered in her belly. This place was a sanctuary, an escape, a shelter, and a friend. It was strange to feel as if she’d just walked into her home, kicked off her shoes, and cuddled up in the overstuffed sofa. Physically, she was far from the place where her presence was expected to emerge upon sunrise. But, Lucy’s heart lept at the joy of this new place. Every single bristling green leaf responded to her deep breaths, moving with the slight motion of her chest.
The energy was almost electric around her, though Lucy’s relief at the lack of electric current was obvious. She let her hands drop to her sides, smoothing the corduroy pattern and testing the silence. With a slight shoulder shrug, which seemed to say to the trees, “you’re my new friends, right?” Lucy slowly stretched her arms up, up, up into the air as far as her little frame could manage. When they reached the highest height, her mouth opened and an unplanned yelp escaped.
Startled, Lucy turned around (with arms still extended to the highest height) in a small circle and waited to see if there would be a protest. Sensing none, Lucy’s eyes relaxed and this time the yelp was every bit planned. In fact, it turned into a joyful song and dance, with complete abandon to the freedom of the place.
Moments or minutes later (Lucy’s joy did not let her keep track of time), Lucy wandered over to a stunning green shoot, growing from a fallen tree. The colors seem magical almost, or painted. Afraid to touch it, she got real close and smelled its smell. Wet, dirt, clean, and earth filled her nose. Her pause was altogether too long, but now Lucy knew she could linger without worrying. She stared at the little green shoot sprouting from the fallen tree until her eyes started to blur and her limbs began to droop.
Lucy felt the soft bark underneath her fingers and slowly laid her head down for a moment. Her legs still limp, she let them hang over the edge and float in the forest air. She slept.
A faint tickle traced her right knuckle and Lucy roused with half-open eyes to examine the cause. A caterpillar was making its merry way up, over, and around her in search of something, it seemed. Her eyes spread wider and accustomed to the forest light. In the hours that past between the abandoned dance and waking from the most restful nap, Lucy thought the clusters of trees might have changed. The dampness soaked into her and the full shade above her kept the leaves from glistening.
She remembered the joyful dance before her nap and wondered if she could muster the same song. The morning scene that started this whole excursion seemed so long ago.
My friend Nicole inspired me to write this little piece that I’m quite sure is only the beginning. I still haven’t decided how old to make Lucy, but I already know I love her dearly. For now, it is called, “Is this freedom?”
I know you’ve got it in you, so