Just a little longer. She pushed through the thick underbrush as she made her way down the deer path. Beaten grass sprung from beneath her tennis shoes. The sun filtered through the branchless trees and settled on the brown leaves and ice crystals. At last she broke her way through a cantankerous vine and stumbled into the sunlight. As usual it took away her breath.
A small lake, surrounded by a wall of stone and dirt lay on the clearing floor. A trickle of a stream fed it. Silver fish danced in the pool. Glistening pebbles of green and blue lined the bank streaked pink with bits of shell. Miraculously, though snow had fallen outside the clearing was warm and springy. She took off her shoes and wiggled her toes in the clear water. What could be better? How could anything go wrong?
Her family could. Her mother was sick again. Her father tried his best to keep their morale up, but she knew that her mother was fading. No amount of money could save her. Only a miracle. And in this time of grief a miracle seems impossible. How could such ugly things be in such a beautiful world? She voiced this question to the fish.
Tucking her feet back into her shoes she glanced forlornly at the sparkling pond. If only.
She trudged back home. She entered the large Victorian barely noticing the fresh snow beneath her feet. She walked into the living room unsurely. A woman lay on the couch coughing feebly.
"Mama," she cried out to the sleeping woman. "I'm home," she said, quietly. The woman opened her eyes. The sky blue coloring that used to sparkle with life now was listless. They had not seen beauty for a long time. "Mama," she repeated. "I have something to show you."
In the twenty minutes t took her to help her mother up and get her ready for the cold outdoors her hope grew. When they at last reached the pool some color had returned to the pale woman's cheek. Setting her down, the girl dangled her legs in the water. As she did, she began to weep. Soon she felt a thin arm around her shoulder.
"Where are we?" her mother asked, awestruck. The girl looked up and in turn became amazed. She had not heard her mother talk in ages. As if cued by the voice a flock of doves flew overhead and the sun made the pond sparkle like a bunch of Christmas lights. The girl did not need to answer for they both knew. They had found a true enchanted place.