Deep in the woods, there it was. I had been hiking for a while and I was tired. I sat on a rock, and enjoyed a ray of sunlight drifting through the tree I sat under. I put my head back and let the rays bathe me and basked in the peace for a minute, listening to the chirping birds and squirrels as they skittered up and down trees.
I had not had a moment like this in a while. My life was so busy with children and my teaching job. 2020 had been quite a year with the pandemic and I was fried to a crisp. I had no time to myself. Finally an opportunity came up where my husband took the kids out of town and I got a chance to do my favorite thing, hike by myself with nothing but my favorite music pumping through my ear phone, and when I got tired of that I would listen to nature sounds.
I was following a small stream and the babble also added a nice additive to the bird and squirrel sounds. And yet I was so tired. I had walked much longer then I had in a long time. I was severely out of shape. I had not had much time or energy to get in shape this year. In fact I had gained another 10 pounds on the top of the 40 I had to lose from stress eating over the past 4 years.
This was the start of a healthier life style, and even though I was tried, I was satisfied at the five mile hike I completed. After a little rest, I would turn back and start the trek home.
I got up from the rock, and hitched my back pack more comfortably on my shoulders. It was light. It held my cell phone, some water and a couple of granola bars. Fortunately the cell reception was good in case an emergency happened. I was 40 and had ruined my knees in my 20s because of running. I was always worried my knee would go out hiking. It had happened before.
As I got up and stretched and began to turn around to go back the way I came, I spotted something off in the near distance. The sun glistened off a window. Curious, I walked closer to see what structure had a window this far into the woods.
I was tired and I knew I wanted to get back before dark, but curiosity got the better of me. I had to see what the structure was, so instead of turning right, I turned left. I traveled through some thicker brush and saw it over a bit of ridge. It was a huge dilapidated red barn. The paint was weather worn throughout, but the red color still showed through in many spots. There was a door hanging off its hinges.
I knew it was a potential danger to go in an old abandoned barn, the whole structure could fall down on me. Yet, I couldn't ignore it. My adventurous spirit spurred me on. I walked toward it and as I got closer all of a sudden a deathly silence descended on the forest. What in the actual heck?
Committed, I walked towards the barn. I felt compelled to see what was inside. I pushed open an old stripped door. There was not much to see. An old counter held some type of old farm equipment. I did not recognize it as I was more drawn into another room off to the left of the main room.
I entered and gasped. In the room was a shimmering curtain that undulated two feet above the ground. Despite my instincts my sense of adventure kept driving me on and I felt compelled to put my hand through.
As I pushed my hand through it disappeared. There was no pain, so against my rational side I stuck a foot through and before I knew it I was yanked through. It felt like diving into a pool and then having a seizure and coming to after inhaling some water. I gasped on the ground for a bit trying to get my bearings and cursing myself for not turning back to my very normal, desired life.
I had fallen on the ground. I sat up and breathed and tried to see where I was. I saw a similar dark room as the one I left. Then all of a sudden a child came running in that suspiciously looked similar to my daughter. As I looked closer, I realized she was not my daughter but looked more like me as a child. I stood up, unsure quite how to greet her, but then I realized she could not even see me. She ran right past me to an adult in the corner.
"Daddy, daddy! Look what I did! Look at my report card!" The father looked at the report card closely and in a stern voice, "You got too many C's? Why?"
The child, who I realized very quickly, was a younger version of me, tearfully said, "But see Daddy, I got A in math." My father said, "But what about the C's. You cannot do ban until you get your grades up."
The little girl collapsed into tears and then the picture I was staring at wavered. When it came into clarity again there was an adult girl standing there with a bag over her shoulder. "Dad, I am going to college to be a teacher!"
"Why? You will regret it."
"Well Dad, I want to change the world!"
He said nothing and I turned around and left.
The scene shimmered and changed again.
There was a room illuminated. My father was on a bed and did not look well. An older version of me entered the room.
"Dad, I came. I love you and forgive you. I know you just wanted what is best for me."
"Yes, I am sorry for how I treated you. I do love you. I really just wanted to protect you. "
"I know Dad. I love you."
And then the older version of me held his hand until he passed.
All of a sudden the scene changed again and I was thrown back into the room I was in. I gasped for breath. I was not sure what type of magic or sorcery or time travel had happened. I realized I was given a gift, which was a glimpse into my future and the past. I had had an estranged relationship with my father. I knew I had a chance to change that before he was on his death bed.
I took a deep breath and gathered myself and left the farm house. As I stated down the trail I glanced back and realized the farm house was no longer there. I vowed to take what I had learned and try to fix my relationships. I hope other people had the chance I did.
I decided to take the chances I was given and risk love and kindness. It was time.