Stories

In Timeless Woods

Silhouette of tree with wavy connecting branches against an autumn-colored woodland background
“In Timeless Woods”, 8in x 8in, acrylic on canvas


The forest was quiet, we sat quite still. Not a word to speak or reason to stir. The tree before us entranced us enough, we had no need for diversions.

A rustling down the hill turned our heads.

“A deer?” you guessed.

“Not the wind,” I replied.

We continued to sit in calmness, for what could harm us out here?

The rustling approached and grew to a commotion, as if urging us to move. The bushes nearby shook and parted.

Time came striding by, and paused. It was in a hurry to get somewhere, as time so often is, and was confused by two who weren’t.

Most of life, in a way, is spent simply filling hours. Grand schemes and lofty goals, urgent chores and fleeting pursuits. All require an eye on the clock, to plan and progress and reach some measured end.

Our forest day was none of this. We had no schedule to keep, no list of items to do, and no place else to be. 

We had no need of time. Without a care we waved it on.

It frowned and turned and continued its march, off to harry a busy world. We sat back to contemplate the tree.

Some days we pass the time, some days time passes us.

It evens out in the end.


Beyond These Hills

Flower-covered hills stand before a distant mountain range
“Beyond These Hills”, 12in x 9in, Acrylic on canvas


The winding road couldn’t decide where to go, or it wanted us to be lost. You said we should abandon it, now. “There must be another way round.”

Agreed.

I was secretly hoping we’d find a field of flowers to wade through, a singular delight waiting for those who venture out this far in May or June. That meant leaving the road that was leading us nowhere.

These hills looked promising. And perhaps you too wished for a wild-blooming meadow we could wander through.

We climbed an up-rolling slope — scrambling across gullies, pushing through thickets, and bounding over soggy springs. How were you not out of breath after all that?

“We can follow this,” you said brightly, while I paused to dab the sweat from my brow. 

It was the faint trail of a creature that nested thereabouts, recently used though lightly trodden so detecting it took some skill.

Before we moved on, a spot of white caught my eye — a blossom that shyly peeked out from the safety of surrounding brambles, which kept away brutes that might eat it or pluck it or trample it down. 

I kept my distance, but allowed myself hope. Where there’s one flower there must be more. The thought helped to quicken my step as I followed after you.

When the trail disappeared into shrubs that hid a private burrow, we turned aside, forged a new path, and soon crested the hill.

Flowers hypnotically swayed in fields of yellow, red, pink and green — softly seducing with nature’s perfume, betokening spring’s delirium, and beckoning, beckoning for us to join them.

But we stood mesmerized by the mountains beyond.

“That is where we must go.”


Noon, Eons Ago

“Noon, Eons Ago”, 12in x 9in, acrylic on canvas

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.