Thursday, January 15, 2009

Girl Story Chapter Two

The Story of the Girl begins on January 8th. 

Chapter Two 
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." — Anatole France

The winter of 2003 was the harshest in a decade. Storms unleashed their fury in quick succession, battering the region with snow, ice and frigid temperatures. Shoveling the driveway was something I did often and in shifts, making grids, thinking, the way writers do, about stories, characters and the past. I worried about the Girl, and then chided myself for believing she was still alive. I didn’t realize it then, but mentally, I had already gone back on Girl Watch.

Spring arrived late and then in fits and starts – daffodils and grape hyacinths dotted a landscape still littered with snow banks. Swollen rivers raged from the melting snow, and the waters of the Charles crashed furiously over the dam where the Girl had spent most of her time. The river remained in that unfriendly state well into April, until gradually, a few Mallards and some Canada Geese returned. But not the Girl, and when May came there was still no sign of her. Surely, she would have returned by then – if she was still alive. Memorial Day passed and still the Girl was nowhere to be found.

Unable to abandon hope, without knowing why, I continued to look for her. Besides, I loved visiting the dam and watching the seasons come into their fullness. Now, wands of green willow branches hung down in arches, their leaves like graceful fingers trailing along the water’s surface. Crabapple trees, studded with pink blossoms, attracted whorls of bees that hovered happily in the morning sun. River swallows returned to do their aerial dances, swooping and diving to catch insects high above the rushing water. No hour I spent there was ever wasted, nor would be.

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