Adelheide

The hills above Maienfeld, Switzerland | Nicolai Stotz, Google Maps

The hills above Maienfeld, Switzerland | Nicolai Stotz, Google Maps

When she last came here, she was not the one in the wheelchair.

She was abloom then—just like the alpine slopes blooming still. Back then, her heart beat mighty in her chest. Back then, she was the one racing up to the high meadows.

She remembered her first day, fresh-cheeked girl she was, filling her apron with flowers until it could hold no more—only to find them withered by the time she returned to the cottage.

“Grandma, look.”

The breathless girl had returned. In one chubby fist, she held out a fresh-picked bouquet.

Adelaide took the flowers. She was an old woman now, her own hand withered, a thorny crown of vein upon its bird-bone architecture.

An age had passed. A hundred civilizations had risen and fallen, and all that comprised the world of ago had been reinvented four times over.

And yet somehow, still—the mountain remained.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

25 Comments

  1. Lovely language in this piece. I especially enjoyed the bird-bone architecture. Who’s been reading Heidi?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, you know who! Sometimes in revisiting old childhood favorites, one can be disappointed. This was not one of those times!

      Like

  2. lillmcgill

    This rings true. Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 Glad you liked it.

      Like

  3. Perhaps because of the name, I’m thinking Johanne Spry. I loved the Heidi book, and the two spin offs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! I’m glad that came across. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Always enjoy your posts.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautifully written, Karen. I like the way the little girl has become the old woman in a wheelchair.
    I would love to know the significance of “An age had passed. A hundred civilizations had risen and fallen, and all that comprised the world of ago had been reinvented four times over.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for reading Penny. I’m glad you asked! In re-reading Heidi recently, I thought about how much had changed since I’d read it as girl–which got me to thinking how much the world would have changed for the fictional Heidi, had she been around for 100 years or so.

      My own grandmother was born into a world where women still wore corsets. She rode in a surrey with a fringe on top. They had no indoor plumbing or electricity.

      In her lifetime (98 years), she saw governments rise and fall, and the reinvention so many things–how we listen to music being just one example. From radio, to record, to 8-track, to cassette, to CD, to spotify–most of these occurring in my lifetime.

      So much has changed, and continues to change!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. reminds me that back in the day, before a cure, folks with tb would go to the mountains for the air.

    lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joem! I had forgotten all about ‘the cure’. Seems like a good spot for it, doesn’t it?

      Like

  6. How lovely!!! And it seems it took us both in the same lineage direction … (I only read others’ stories after I post mine, which makes it even more fun!)
    This was so very well done!

    Like

    1. Thanks so much Na’ama. Loved your story too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 Ain’t it fun? We have us the mutual admiration society and it is great delight! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I like that theme – the immutablility of the mountains compared to the changes in a human life. They seem ageless, where we are certainly not! Lovely language and imagery, Karen

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Lynn. The mountains do indeed seem to changeless. At least when compared to humans and all their activities.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice analogy of the woman withering over time and the flowers withering in a day, especially contrasted with the mountain’s ever-unchanging nature.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Joy, I’m glad that came across for you. I found the concept inspiring.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ditto what everyone else said. Beautifully written, especially “her own hand withered, a thorny crown of vein upon its bird-bone architecture.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lish, that means a lot. So glad to see you this week, btw!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. That is an awesomely beautiful story. I can just picture the scene, and it brings a smile. BTW, I almost picked the same picture for mine this week. 🙂 ❤ ~Shalom, Bear

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh neat, Bear. It is such a lovely spot. Glad you liked the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. peterkirsch

    “…a thorny crown of vein upon its bird-bone architecture.”

    God that’s beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you so much! That means a lot. Thanks for reading.

      Like

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