Today I finally figured it out.
The beautiful thing about being immortal is watching the seasons pass, on repeat.
Spring, summer, autumn, winter. The life cycle of the planet perfectly condensed into three-hundred-and-sixty-five little days.
In spring the lambs are born, they find their back legs and stumble away from their mother just so they can frolic in the green fields. Trees bare of leaves from the previous winter start to blossom once more, and the taste of a new start is in the air. The pond is still freezing cold, but the baby swans begin to swim anyway.
Summer comes hot and fast, in a blink of an eye. Barbeques by the pond, kids splash through the water with belly-laughs, and they catch tadpoles with jam jars. The sun blazes high in the sky long enough to question "when will the rain return?".
But it isn't long until the rain returns. Autumn swoops in with its dull clouds and chilly storms. The trees start to look bare again, and the sun doesn't shine for as long. The pond becomes home to the fallen leaves and petals, which dance across the surface with every gust of wind. Once, and only once, do the children come to play again but this time they are disguised. They are little ghosts, monsters and glow-in-the-dark skeletons. They run around the pond, with plastic pumpkins full to the brim with colourful candies. They have smiles bigger than ever before.
Winter doesn't take long to set in after that. The rain turns to snow, the flora shrivels up and the animals hibernate until the chill disappears again. The pond freezes over, and when the snow does fall it is the most beautiful picture.
That's what I'm looking at now as I write. It is winter, the snow has fallen and the pond glints in the winter sun. From my window, the children dare to skate across the ice, and I can't help but smile.
I have watched these children for years. They return every winter, only taller, smarter, and with longer hair. I have watched them the same way I watched their parents, and their parents, and so on. It is certainly tradition now, that I watch the frozen pond.
In all my lives, in all of their greatness and glory, failures and faults, watching the ice has been my greatest purpose. I have done it longer than humans have been chasing the stars, and I watch with a devoted heart.
I wonder, did I ever tell of the day I chose to watch over the pond?
It was winter, too many moons ago now to recall the exact date. That particular winter had been the coldest, and it had been the first time the pond had frozen over completely. Two siblings, no older than five and ten, ventured out onto the ice alone. I had happened to be passing, on my way to the nearby town to purchase my weekly shopping from the market, when the ice first broke.
It split under the feet of the youngest, a girl whose terrified face will live in my mind forever, and she plunged into the water. Of course, I knew what I had to do. I grabbed the eldest child before the ice had chance to break on him too, set him down on the snow, and dived in after the girl.
I remember the shock of the water in my lungs, burning against my skin as it tempted to freeze me too. The girl, floating towards the bottom of the pond, was lifeless by the time I had hold of her.
It had been too late then to save her, but I promised myself it wouldn't happen again. And it hasn't. And as I watch over the pond, whether is winter or summer, I'm happy knowing I have purpose.
Immortality doesn't have to be lonely, or selfish. It doesn't have to be something somebody envies. I don't see it as a burden or a curse, I see it as being frozen in time while the world keeps spinning.
So, sweet diary, I must leave.
The pond needs it's faithful watcher.
This is my seventh SFS Challenge entry, and you can read my sixth entry for the Green Light Challenge here:
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