The Meadow

 

Settling back into her seat, she looked up at the sky and smiled. The clouds were so much prettier here than at home; they looked like Maxfield Parrish prints: huge, fluffy, iridescent. And they felt so close that she thought she could touch them. It was amazing.

As the Jeep bounced down the unpaved road she glanced over at the driver. His eyes were intent on the path in front of them, though occasionally he would look off to the left or right, seeking to find perfect places to show her; exquisite natural landscapes guaranteed to charm and enrapture. So far he had not disappointed her, and somehow, it was all having a profound effect on her. After nearly a year of emotional chaos – complemented by a lifetime of the same – she could actually feel herself unwind, relax, settle…a fox up ahead on the road, jumped, startled, at the sound of the Jeep, and she watched it rush off into the woods and away from danger. He had seen the fox, too, she had felt the pull of the brakes as he slowed down. He glanced at her and smiled self-consciously then looked back at the road. She looked at him, smiling, and then turned again to study the sky.

Huge puffy rabbits, lions and castles slid across the sky as they drove. Suddenly he stopped the car. He looked at her and smiled. She grabbed her camera, nodded, and climbed out onto the road. There were no cars coming from either direction, which, she had come to realize was not that unusual. He held out his hand to her and she took it.

“Want to take a look?” he asked – knowing already her answer.

“Yes!” she laughed.

“Do you have your camera?”

She held it up for his inspection, her eyes twinkling. “You know it!”

“Good,” he nodded, and pulled her along.

She followed him across the dirt and gravel road, hurrying to match his long-legged stride. Stepping off the road, they walked through thigh-high grass and flowers. She was so intent on watching where she was going that she didn’t notice the beauty around her until he stopped. He put his hand on her shoulder to steady her and asked, “What do you think?”

She stood there in awe. They were surrounded by a field of wild grass and flowers; yellow, purple, white, it was amazing. In the distance she could see mountains, trees she could not identify…it was so incredibly lovely that she wanted to cry. All she could do was stare and then begin to take pictures in hopes of embedding the scene permanently in her brain.

After a few moments she glanced over to see him smiling proudly. She reached out and took his hand, looking up at him with a smile. “Thank you. Thank you. I don’t know how to thank you enough for…for this. For everything…” Her voice trailed off as she looked at the beauty around them and then back at him.

He took her hand, squeezed it, and nodded. Then they made their way back to the Jeep.

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