fiction

A New Trail

snowshoe trailThey glided by gracefully. The snow slid beneath their skis as they disappeared around a bend. I remembered the feeling of air brushing my face as my movements effortlessly carried me forward. Now, I moved more slowly and the only sound was the snow crunching beneath me as I trod along.

The trail wound through trees and the gently rolling terrain seemed to be made just for me. The trail I was on ran parallel to some others. Sometimes I had to cross over an open area where multiple trails intersected. At these points I stopped and like I did in childhood, looked both ways before going across, afraid of being run over by the swifter beings that shared this space with me.

A steep hill went up to the right and curved out of sight. I wondered where it would lead and what wonderful sights I might see if I could reach the top. But I knew better then to try.

The silence of the woods was broken by voices and I stopped and watched multiple figures come from behind me and go by. Some were swift and sure but others slipped and slid trying to gain some traction on the snow. One fell and struggled to get up while others waited to help, if necessary.

I remembered how it hadn't always been easy for me. The steep uphill climbs had taken so much effort, exhausting and sometimes defeating me. The swooping down snowshoe womanhills that they inevitably led me to were exhilarating but could leave me on the ground, snow spraying in all directions.

Now I only saw the sun going in and out behind the clouds above me, the different patterns of the bark on trees I passed and the imprint I left on the snow. I began to revel in the sureness of my stride. A little further on I came to a clearing. A view of a small town spread out below me. The white spire of a church steeple rose above the trees and rooftops of the buildings around it. I stopped for a few minutes and tried to commit it to memory.

The trail wound slowly downhill and I soon reached its end. I slipped out of the bindings. Snowshoes and poles under my arm I thought of all the new places they would take me and smiled.

 

Ellen Katz is a "Visiting Mom" volunteer, dedicated letter writer, dog lover (sees dog...introduces self), and lives in a historic but ignored Massachusetts town with her tolerant and supportive husband of 41 years.

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