Wellesley in Spring, 1953

Age 12 and a mile from home; I have freedom
to explore, discover, observe, and reflect
on the harmony of the forest off Cartwright road.

White-rimmed silver clouds chase a receding cold front,
alternately blocking then allowing dazzling sunlight
to incubate primordial stirrings of spring growth.
It’s a bright March morning within an awakening forest.

I meander dreamlike through towering pines and pristine birches
to pause at the lip of a deep depression in the forest floor.
I ponder this unexpected anomaly.
Slipping down a rocky crevice, I find myself
in the quietly muted bowl of a secluded glen,
sheltered by overhanging elm and maple.

In the misty grayness, my eyes are drawn to the sharp perfection
of a single pink lady slipper in pristine solitude:
slender, serene, and radiant with vibrant color
against a black wall of rock.

I step tentatively across the leafy carpet
to more closely examine her beauty.
She welcomes me as I kneel before her.
A sudden brilliance of sunlight Illuminates her perfect symmetry.

She softly whispers,
“I exist to inspire and guide you.
We are where we are supposed to be in this time and space.
We similarly struggle within dark, wet, isolated rocky pits of life.
We similarly rejoice within occasional rays of sunshine.
Thus I understand your challenges.
I flourish in fullfillment and peace for two months.
You will enjoy fulfillment and peace for eighty years.
Embrace my delicate beauty in the wonder of this moment.
Forever hold this image and the example of my life force
in your caring, loving heart and mind.
From this day forward, support and defend
all fragile, vulnerable beings. Remember me always. . .”
Enriched with new sensitivity, wisdom and awareness, I arise,
bow to her, and continue a wondrous journey through life.

© 2016 Will Walsh