There’s this old tree stump out in the woods behind my house that I love to sit on. I first found it, at least, twenty years ago and sitting there has brought me much enjoyment for many seasons. When one takes the time to look, there are many wonders constantly taking place in the forest.
Parts of the stump are long since rotted away, but there’s enough of the heart left to afford me a good place to sit and ponder the complexities of life. Actually, that’s not true. (slight laugh) I love just staring out into the woods admiring the beauty of it all. You should understand at this point in my story that I live a considerable distance from any town and therefore, spend a lot of time alone, which I may add, pleases me to no end. I do, however, play the guitar, so that amuses me by the hour. Perhaps play might be the wrong word, though. Work at it might be more appropriate.
In all the years I’ve been enjoying the serenity of this particular location, I had yet to see or hear another human being anywhere nearby. This was most likely a good thing because I usually had my guitar with me. You can imagine my surprise when I heard the faint noises one would assign to footsteps crossing the forest’s floor. On this particular occasion, I was sitting out there in the morning, and the sun had not yet risen fully into the sky.
There is this one spot, at this particular time of day and at this time of the year, where the sun shines brightly right through the trees on to what I refer to as my stump. When sitting there at that time of day, I always have the feeling the forest is granting me access to its very source of energy, it’s life’s blood so to speak. I set my guitar aside and listened for a moment.
I had the sense that the footsteps were moving in the direction of where I was sitting. My first concern was that it was a bear coming to visit. I would hate to be anti-social with a bear, this being more it’s forest than mine, but hooking up with a bear just wasn’t real high on my list of things to do this day.
The only thing I had that resembled a weapon was the guitar. I would hate to lose it, but I’m sure there are others who wouldn’t mind. I have been feeling rather poorly as of late, and the thought alone of trying to put any sort of distance between myself and a wild creature was enough to make a woman shudder.
It was a great relief when what appeared to be the outline of a woman came out of the sun, walking towards me. The sun was to her back, so it was impossible to make out her facial features other than her long flowing hair. Finally, when she was just a few feet away from me, it was as if a curtain lifted and everything about her was easily discernible.
The woman stood there for a moment looking at me, her face almost a question mark. From the very moment of the curtain being lifted, her face was similar to a magnet for my eyes. I simply could not shift them in any direction other than where they were looking. I’ve heard that in everybody’s lifetime they meet one woman who they view as the most beautiful woman they have ever, or will ever see. I had no doubt that this was my moment. This woman standing in front of me was undoubtedly the most beautiful woman in my world.
When I sit out in my place of solitude, I admire the beauty surrounding me. As much as these attractions stimulate my perception of life, they were paled by the sheer beauty of the creature standing before me. The features of her face told me she was obviously a member of one of the American Indian tribes. She was attired in the native dress I had seen pictures of Indian women wearing. There was something about her though that would separate her from the average tribal woman. Perhaps she was a princess, the daughter of a great chief. The area I reside in has a rich history steeped in both fact and legend regarding the tribes and how they lived their lives.
“You come here often,” she finally said to me. Being physically unable to speak, I simply nodded my head in agreement. She reached out with her right hand and placed her fingers on my lips. “Your mouth is quiet?” she asked.
I couldn’t help but smile at her. Then I did something that I certainly couldn’t explain. I kissed her hand.
“I have seen you here often,” she said. “ You have great feelings for this forest, I think.”
I have to say that if a strange woman kissed my hand, I would give some form of reaction, but she said nothing about it. I might have interpreted her look wrong, but, I’m almost positive that she actually smiled when I did it.
She stood there for a few minutes as if waiting for something to happen. I looked around wondering if somebody else would be joining us. For a reason I simply could not explain, thoughts of my life started running through my mind. It was as if my entire life was on a movie screen. My childhood seemed like yesterday. I started to smile when I saw myself walking down the aisle towards the man I would spend the better part of my life with. Then of course, as quite often happens, I saw myself at the cemetery, tears streaming down my face, standing next to the grave that held that dear man.
The rest of the movie was snatches of my day to day life, mostly spent by myself. A comforting feeling came over me. We weren’t able to have children so when the day came for me to depart this life, nobody I could think of would miss me. Had I even made a difference to anybody on this earth? I have no doubt that I did to my husband, and somehow, that was enough for me.
The woman then held out her hand for me to take. As soon as I clasped it, a feeling of warmth came over me. Not the warmth that comes from the fireplace; this one started deep within me and soon radiated throughout my body. She gently stepped back, still holding my hand. In one fluid motion, as she stepped back, I rose to a standing position. It seemed only natural that I follow her. For a brief moment, I turned to glimpse my favored tree. At first, it surprised me, but as she put her arm around me, I took one last look at myself slumped over, still sitting on the stump still holding the guitar.