On the far side of the clearing was the stage, with mirrors and exercise bars extending back into the room behind. The woman who ran it hauled the backdrops up from New York city. An artsy-type, wearing dance clothes and a headband.
There the little girls learned to dance. Toward the end of the long summer, a recital, and in the twilight, with the meadow filled with parents and friends, and fireflies flickering through the dark beneath the trees, the girls danced and presented their play.
Does the dance ever end?
Fifteen years ago, Adrienne told me this story, describing how magical the place was, how she sometimes seemed to see glimmering fairies brushing through the leaves, how the light was golden and the music floating across the meadow.
Ten years ago, when I came to see the house she’d rented for herself and her daughter Layla, I noticed the small sign of carved wood. Secured to a metal upright, it stood in a corner of her garden. “Meadow Hearth” it said.
And did the home become Meadow Hearth? Adrienne worked so hard, year after year, planting the bright flowers, fixing up the house. The landlords couldn’t have cared less. I moved in; her daughter moved out. There were ups and downs and a neighbor on the sun side proposing a construction project. It came time to move away.
In our new home in Mount Shasta, I notice in a corner of the garden, a small sign of carved wood. A bit more weathered now, but still proclaiming “Meadow Hearth”.
Are we in Meadow Hearth?
My personal belief is no, we’re not. I think perhaps Meadow Hearth is far away, further than miles, further than rivers, further than roads. There at the far side of memory, Meadow Hearth remains, bright, perfect, shining, as once upon a time.
But the dance goes on.