The light around us instantly changed — in the sky, the air, your eyes — when we walked through the stone arch, the one with time-worn runes you had traced with your fingers as we stood in its morning shade, wondering who had put it there.
The shadows now were gone, mostly, as sunlight shone down from above. The forest was gone too.
We glanced back at the arch, reassured to see it still there, framing the tree-shaded world behind us.
The runes on this side were sharper, freshly cut. Even the mountains ahead looked newly carved, less weather-smoothed.
Not a trace of decay tainted the air, which had never before been breathed. The wind was yet an infant breeze, learning its way in playful puffs that tumbled over the fields.
You knelt and brushed your hand across green shoots. “This is a younger time.”
“We could stay here…” But we had arranged to be elsewhere later.
Much, much later — countless years — from this moment. Though mere hours away as measured by clocks still ticking minutes on mantels and walls at home, back where the forest was old.
You gauged the angle of the sun. “It must be about noon here.”
“Good thing we brought lunch.”
We sat there a while under the springtime sky, eons ago.