The wind howled with the unrelenting roar of Mother Nature, she toppled trees and shook the roof of the old woman’s mountain cabin. She was on a mission only Mother Nature could do. Her mission today was Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Let the games begin! Mother Nature began to roar. The rain was relentless.
This was probably one of the worst storms to hit the mountain in decades. The smoke from the old cabin’s chimney was being carried across the tree tops of the West Virginia Mountains. There was no one within twenty miles to see it, even the mountain animals were taking cover, hovering deep inside the sanctuary of the mountain’s crevices and caves.
The woman inside the dilapidated cabin was oblivious to the sounds outside. All day long she sat in her chair staring out the window to her pond. Today the pond had disappeared into the darkness of the storm. Only Mother Nature knew the secret she held with-in the old cabin, and how it would end.
Kate sat in her weathered, wooden rocker. She was now unaware of the storm outside; her hearing had been failing for years, her heart began to sputter but she was content, mesmerized by the roaring fire crackling loudly but unapologetic in the ancient block fireplace. The cabin was old and run down. The once magnificent cabin Matt had built her by their beloved pond was falling down around her. Kate could feel Mother Nature slipping in between the rafters of the logs construction chilling her to the bone. Kate shuttered from the cold hitting her crumbling body.
The handmade quilt sat haphazardly on her bony shoulders. Kate raised her right hand to pull it tighter to her aging body. Her gnarly hands ached from years of crippling arthritis. Kate glanced at the metal hook by the door; hanging by tattered laces were her prized ice skates. She sighed as her weary eyes looked below the ice skates and focused on to the picture of her deceased husband Matt. One small tear began to travel down her wrinkled parchment cheek and at the same time a slight smile formed upon her thin cracked lips. Kate had led a “Good Life,” all in all she had no complaints. Kate’s only regret was not being able to travel as much as Matt would have wanted. Lack of money and certain circumstances prevented them to go into the great beyond.
The warmth of the fire was making her eyelids heavy and she began to sleep. The dream began floating, lazily along the recesses of Kate’s brain. It was rolling gently along the banks of her memory. The dream was fluttering as softly as butterfly wings delicately tapping on the windows of her soul trying to awaken the recollection of it. Then the dream exploded in vivid color, she saw it once again. She was looking at her beloved pond; he was standing just off to the left of it. That pond held lifetime memories for her and Matt.
Kate was 16 years old again and gliding effortlessly across the frozen pond on her ice skates. The sun was out and the sky was blue even though the temperature outside was cold and crisp. Soft billowing puffy clouds were in the sky. Her soft cheeks were bright red from the biting cold, so was the tip of her perfectly shaped nose. Kate’s ebony mane of hair fell softy and untethered on her shoulders. She began to slide across the ice gaining speed until she turned and performed a perfect figure eight stopping abruptly with flakes of iced snow falling around her feet. A song sparrow scurried between the mountain laurel and disappeared into the thick brush. Kate was watching the bird, then…
That is when she saw him, the big bear-sized specimen of a man who was nonchalantly leaning up against the Hickory Pine tree. He was smiling a mischievous grin and his sapphire blue eyes were laser-focused on Kate. Around the man’s neck hung a Saint Christopher medal, (The Patron Saint of travelers). He nodded his head toward her and smiled, an odd thought suddenly formed in his mind “That is the girl I am going to marry”. That thought cascaded over the icy pond until it popped into Kate’s head and she also thought, “That is the man I’m going to marry”, they were both smiling at each other now, somehow knowing each other’s future; simultaneously they both let out a comforting sigh.
As dreams do, it begin to move in fast forward, spinning, tossing, swirling pictures, thoughts and images cascading into the beautiful, full life movie of their life together. It all seemed so jumbled now! It was all so fast.
Kate began to wiggle back and forth, she tried to remember the dream but it was sliding like the morning tide back into her memory bank. It was gliding swiftly through the recesses of Kate’s brain and rapidly dumping itself into the emptiness of her soul. She was drowning with the non-thought of it! Kate let out a wretched scream.
She felt a massive pounding jolt deep in her broken heart; it cracked again and again, suddenly her heart was silent. Kate was tired, she was spent, and she was done. Kate was dead.
The mother of nature stopped the storm and smiled in relief. Her work was done. The mountain became eerily quiet. The wind abruptly silenced. A soft supple golden hue resonated across the pond, the sky was opening to blue skies and Mother Nature was content.
Kate’s eyes flew open and standing before her was Matt; not the old man he had become but the strong man-boy she had first seen by the pond. He was holding out his hand, his beloved St. Christopher Medal in his palms. “Come my love, it’s time to travel again with me”. A spry, agile young Kate sprang off the chair and into Matt’s waiting arms. She was truly home again and she smiled as they both floated over their beloved golden pond and entered the here ever after!
As the forest ranger entered Kate’s house to remove her body, he looked in her clenched hand and found the St. Christopher Medal with Matt’s initials on the back of it. The Ranger had been at Kate’s husband’s funeral and knew for a fact it had been buried with him! The ranger smiled as he left her house. He was a believer!
I'm a 70-year-old woman who grew up without a high school education, a single mother at 18 but thrived in the school of street smarts. I am the oldest of ten children and have had a magical life, a wonderful career, three marriages, and a lovely beautiful smart successful daughter. I have been writing ever since I could hold a crayon.