On a hairpin turn, above the dead forest, on no day in particular, a white Toyota crashed into a black Mercedes, for a moment blending into a blur of gray. The silence that typically smothered the forest with its weight was momentarily broken by the screeching of tires.  The interruption ended as quickly as it had begun.  The only evidence of the crash was a thin trail of black smoke, quickly fading into the crisp morning air.

Miles away, the only witness to the crime let out a deep sigh and set his binoculars down on the pine porch rail.  “Damn tourists,” he grumbled, “always in a hurry to catch a glimpse of nature and then get the hell back out of it.”   Walter Aldridge had experienced many things in his lifetime, yet a car accident was one thing he hoped never to add to his list.  He wondered who was in those cars, and whether they had people waiting for them at home.  The thought briefly crossed his mind that the passengers could be injured. Images began flooding his mind: the frosted, April grass pierced with shards of the shattered windshield; twisted metal lying on the pavement, stretched perfectly across the median; what little remained of white Toyota splattered with the blood of—

“No!” he thought, “Stop it! Even if they needed help, there would be no way to get it to them.  Roseau is the closest town, which is a good 58 miles away.”  Picking up the binoculars he tried to push the crash to the back of his mind; no way in hell was he going to let it interfere with his first bird watching experience.  He had woken early that morning, hoping to catch a glimpse of the rare Bohemian Waxwing.  Through the lens he could see well into the forest, greens and yellows mixing together to form the most beautiful piece of artwork he had ever seen.  As he stared through the lens, he noticed a small movement out the corner of his eye.  He lowered the binoculars, but nothing was there.  Grumbling under his breath, he lifted the binoculars once more.  With the cool black eyecup fit snugly against his eyelids, he heaved a deep sigh.  Fog crept across the lens, covering the glass in a hazy glow. A cool breeze swept across his forehead, reminding him of the boardwalk on Ferris Bay.  Oh, how he longed to return to those carefree days of youth, throwing pennies in the wishing well and waiting for his dreams to come true.  He shook his head.  No, he thought, it is no use to reminisce.  What is in the past is there for good reason; she made her choice, and I mine.

His nose began to itch, starting at the tip and creeping slowly up towards the bridge of his nose.  The words of his mother popped into his head before he could block them: “When a past love is on your mind, remember that it is you someone somewhere is looking to find.”  He threw his hand up in despair, anxious to scratch away all possibility of anyone looking for him.  Years ago, when he had bought his cabin, he had made sure to get it in writing from the real estate agent that no development would be occurring in the area during his lifetime.  The thought of being found was not something he wanted to think about while trying to catch a glimpse of the Waxwing.  Realizing the activity had lost its gleam, he returned the binoculars to their protective case and climbed down the ladder from his tree post.  There’s always tomorrow, he thought, as he began the trek back down the path to his cabin.

Advertisements