The path was of red brick, it suggested a connection with the earth. She trod lightly upon the path and yet her steps were purposeful, she needed to reach her destination.
She was looking down at the path, as she had been told to at the beginning of the journey, focusing just ahead and a little afraid to look up in case she lost her way and the path disappeared. She watched and counted, as her feet stepped out beneath her believing, as she travelled that she was there. As she began to feel at ease with her surroundings she widened her gaze to look outside of the path, lifting her head slightly, while at the same time ensuring the path remained within her vision. A butterfly flew lightly by, enticing her from her path, to follow its beauty, for just a fleeting moment. The butterfly flew on the breeze across a garden of country flowers to join other butterflies dusted across the landscape. Her ears tuned themselves to the scene and brought with them gentle bird song to what had originally been silence. About a foot in front she saw a peacock, its tail splayed proudly as it too walked the path. She stopped to pick a lost and solitary feather from the path.
She had been told to look for a seat and there it was framed beneath the buddleia, the lilac of the tree casting a gentle hue on the wood. The seat was an old tree trunk on its side to make a bench long enough for three people. Although the trunk was old it shone in the sunlight as if highly polished and the surface had been flattened for sitting. Rings on the yellow tinged wood suggested a great age and although no longer as part of a tree it looked healthy and alive. Butterflies surrounded the tall buddleia tree so it appeared to be moving and amass with colours framing the seat beneath.
She sat on the seat, her feet just off the floor and waited as she had been told by her tutor. Beside her there was her diary, she hadn’t brought this along it had been lost many years ago but she knew it was hers by the inscription. Her grandfather had given the diary to her as a child, it held those precious childhood memories she had almost forgotten. She lifted the book and read from the pages, her childhood scrawl, familiar and yet forgotten. The passion and innocence of the child she once was joining her now all these years later.
Looking up she saw her grandfather, not the sick man she had last seen but a healthy smiling man. He was standing next to another gentleman, he appeared to be Indian and wrapped in cloth, he appeared from looking at him, to be wise. Her grandfather glancing once at the man at his side for permission, walked to join her on the bench. He didn’t say anything as he joined her, just sat with her looking out at the beautiful garden and the wise man in the distance. There was a remembered closeness between them that didn’t need words, a closeness that had been forgotten.
He held out his hand to her, a crystal shone in his palm. Taking the crystal she looked into it and knew it represented a church and the learning within, there were no words. The crystal was for her, she knew this and it would represent the journey yet to be travelled. It signified all that was yet to be learnt, the possibilities ahead as well as the happiness and understanding these lessons would bring.
She looked up at him, a tear trickled down his face but the eye that it came from was smiling. He stood up and without a word walked to join the man standing in the distance. She knew that this man was his friend here and that he was also a teacher. The crystal she held in her hands would hold some of his lessons, she felt the warmth from the stone.
She walked back down the path towards the wooden door she had entered from. Her hand on the handle she turned to look once more into the garden but her grandfather was gone.
Opening her eyes slowly, she was back in the group, but she knew that the garden was easy to find again when she wanted to and she would certainly return.