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The lost mother in the forest


The sky started off solidly blue, but as the day wore on, it took on a dappled appearance. Not a mackerel sky exactly, but the clouds increasingly looked soft and spongy. Like a quilt, Kate thought: yielding, textured, varied. Her mother would have loved the clouds, she thought, if she had only been there to see them. If only.

The weather began to shift, and a gap opened up in the sky. The clouds darkened, and it came on to rain hard. She was on the headland, and realised how exposed and endangered she was. She ran down the hill and into the wood. There were still patches of sunlight here: the rain had not penetrated the forest. She walked on and on, the brambles scratching her legs, the nettles raising weals on the arms. This had been ill-advised.  And what was she looking for anyway? Shelter certainly, succour perhaps. 

Wait. What was that? A little way ahead, she thought she saw a flash of colour. She heard a voice. She pushed through the undergrowth, and burst out into a small sunlit clearing. The rain pattered everywhere else, but  this was dry. And there in the middle was spread an enormous quilt. The colours were blue and gold, and worked into runic patterns. And there in the middle of the quilt was a woman. She turned her head. It was her mother.

She was putting the finishing touches to the quilt, and singing as she did so. It sounded like a lullaby. She gave her daughter  a smile, and said: “I was waiting for you, you see. We are always in each other’s heart. Take the needle and thread.” And although Kate couldn’t sew much, she started to finish the final hem with her mother. They sat there in the light, laughing a little together. This was as real as anything else. She would never forget it. The quilt in the forest.

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