This story comes from the truth and fantasy of a young girl. This happened to me as written, but with deviations into the dreams of that girl long ago.
Swain Woods was at the top of the hill, at the end of the road. The road closed onto a narrow horse trail in the meadow full of tall grass and wildflowers. It meandered near a house closed and gated with mystery. As a young girl of 5 or 6 I could explore nearby, but not yet brave enough to follow the trail into the woods.
The woods had tall trees and I could see a darkness there. Oh my heart desired to enter and explore, but yet something held me back. Was it the darkness, the unknown? Was it a sign of a time when I would walk into the darkness alone?
As I grew a little older and moved to the other side of the woods, I became a braver girl. I also was a day-dreamer girl and dreamt of a day I would be brave enough to enter the woods, the darkness. Yes, I would enter there one day alone to dream. They would be the dreams of a girl of 8 or 9. It was a place I knew I could venture alone, as my sister was not allowed to walk near the poison ivy there. Poison ivy didn't cause the problems for me that it did for her. So in my secret little joy I entered Swain Woods. I followed the trail made by the horses. I became an explorer that day.
Entering the woods the sun was often hidden behind the tall trees. There was a damp coolness, a spongy cushion to the ground. The sounds of birds not usually heard enchanted my young ears and heart. The hoot of the owl and the tapping of the woodpecker serenaded. The fallen trees across the trail would create both bridges and tunnels, places to hide, and places to dream.
Occasionally a wild trillium or miniature iris was noticed growing in amongst the ferns. I would collect moss, loose pieces of bark, twigs, and ferns to create nests for the creatures there. What creatures, I wasn't sure; but I knew there was something present. They were just out of sight, but I could feel them surrounding me in their song and their dance.
Note: Since this is a long story, I have broken it into three parts. I hope you enjoy my truth and fantasy of myself as a young girl.