The rapids collided with rocks in the water and the moss was warm. The logs formed a nest in the river and a piece of bark rushed by. From the treetops the sharp vision of the falcon saw the ant which carried a pine needle, the inside of a falling cone and the white paws of a wood mouse. Three moments later the falcon sailed home with the prey, in the evening sun.
“Now that I’ve got you here, would you…” A stick crunched under my feet. “Would you mind giving me an answer?”
She grazed the smooth surface of a tall spruce. Her index finger touched a stream of resin. “Take a deep breath with me.”
Her ribs became visible above her top and as we both drew in the forest paused in complete silence. Nature filters oxygen into purity and somehow things seem clearer under a forest sky. The green of the spruces turned deep blue as the sun set, but I closed my eyes and held the memory of the green to myself.
“We are young. And we barely know each other.” The dryness in her voice barely bore the words. “John. We barely know each other.”
The wind whistled between branches and moved fallen cones, pine needles, bark. The creek rippled behind us but another sound stood out. The calmness of her breathing was lost.
“I should have picked a better spot.”
“It’s not the spot.”
She took a step closer and her eyes were moist. The red dress she wore was grey under the dark blue sky. I held her.
“Yes it is. We can barely see the sun set from here. The colours of the shadows don’t do justice to nature. Did you know” I looked at her and ran my hand down her side. We both followed my hand to her hand. “The colour red is the longest colour. It’s why it’s the last colour we’ll see out of a sunset.”
“That’s not why I wore it. I’m not like you. There’s not purpose in everything I do.”
An owl hooted from a distance.
“Have you made up your mind or do you still have doubts?”
“Of course I doubt. It’s life. Please John. Can we talk about something else?”
She fell into my arms again. “Yes sure. I’m guessing you know why I took you here.” She nodded and held me closer. “Did you hear the owl just now? No. Okay maybe we’ll hear it again. It hunts at night. The falcon and the eagle are better hunters and since they compete for the same food the owl is nocturnal. Isn’t that something? When the last rays of the sun turn red, the owl wakes up.”
We stood there and listened. I could still remember the green of the branches. The creek was audible and helped me fill the picture of Sophie in the passing afternoon.
“Your brother has children right?”
“Yes two. Isaac and Gabriel.”
“Do you think” Her voice dried up again and she restarted the sentence. “Can I meet them?”
“Yes sure. Gabriel is only seven weeks old, but Isaac is three.”
“That’s too bad.” She sighed and looked around at the colourless forest. “I would have loved to have taken them here.”
“We can take Isaac, but he can’t walk for too long. It’s quite a long walk from the car.”
She nodded and took a deep breath. The spruce responded to the winds while the owl was heard again. She turned around and smiled. Her smile was more genuine, purer than before and she kissed my cheek. “John, you’re great. I really mean it. You’re going to”
She paused midsentence. Her eyes were fixed in the distance.
I took her hand and we started walking back to the car. “Want to hear about the wonder of nature again?”
“The moss is able to grow without roots so the only nutrition it gets is from the air. The colour of the moss is a good way to tell if the air is pure.”
“But it’s so dark you can’t tell.”
“Another way is to feel it. Take another deep breath. Did the air feel pure?”
“Are you ready to talk about keeping our child?”