Sometimes, in the dark evenings, I think of the songs we sang in Corey. I've even tried singing them to myself, but they don't come out properly. All the songs of Corey -- whether they were evensongs or daydawns, songs of thanksgiving or carols for dances -- were multi-part harmonies designed for many voices. As solos, they tremble and fall to dust.
I wake in the morning to a sight that never grows old for me -- a constellation of tiny dewdrops distilled all over the invisible barrier I made last night. I sit up in the ferns, reach out delightedly to touch one, put my finger to my mouth to taste the sweetness of the dew. Then, with a single gesture, I break the charm and the dewdrops fall down upon and around me like a miniature rain.
The growling of my impatient belly decides me -- today I must have food. First, though, I set out to find water. I want to make myself a little more presentable, and if I can't find the train tracks again I can always follow the water to human habitation.
At the bottom of the hill I discover a wide, shallow pond. The water probably isn't safe to drink, but it should be all right for washing up. As I lean over the water to wash my face and hands, I catch sight of my reflection in the water, and it occurs to me that I'm old. Not ancient, but not a teenager any longer, or even a young adult. Strands of grey are beginning to show at my temples, sharply outlined against my dark hair, and thin grooves are starting to wear their way into the corners of my mouth and eyes. When did this happen?
I splash my face and hands with the bitterly cold water, not daring to drink, and try to get my bearings from the sun, but it's another overcast day and it's impossible to tell which way is north. Finally I decide to head uphill and follow the tracks again.
Never in a million years did I suspect my life as an adult would be like this. Insofar as I thought about it at all, I assumed I would choose one of my parents' professions -- woodworker or dressmaker -- and settle down with a sweetheart. I expected, as my parents always expected, that my itch to travel would subside after a few trips outside Corey. Instead... well, there's an old note in my commonplace-book that sums it up: "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."
At the moment I'm just hoping He isn't laughing about my plans to eat today.