The green glass bottle sat silently in the windowsill, the long summer shadows swimming around it as children enjoyed one of their last evenings to play outside.
“You have no idea what I go through every day!”
“Don’t blame me for your bad decisions.”
Still, the glass bottle sat. Calm. Relaxed. It had been the last bottle of wine they had shared, a year ago, on their anniversary. The bottle sat on their breakfast nook through fall, winter and spring, and by the next summer, she decided it was officially dead. The herbs next to it were dead. The pinecones from Christmas were dead. So she found dead willow and oak branches to complete the bouquet.
Each morning, she forced herself to eat breakfast while staring at death. Somehow, it comforted her, as if she was escaping her life for those few quiet moments each morning.
I could die right now, she thought to herself. I could die and I’d be free.
She lingered longer that morning, trying to decide how they would spend their Labor Day weekend. Laying in bed sounded ideal, she knew that much. But the children. Oh, the children. God forbid the children aren’t entertained.
The glass caught her eye, the green of it alluring to her in a way she had not expected. Her eyes lost focus as the oak and willow intertwined in her mind. She saw herself standing over a stream, a small trickle of water that she straddled with ease. The same green she saw in her bottle became a field surrounding her stream, wooded hills in every direction. There was a smell she remembered from her childhood, the smell of camping at night. Of wet grass and wildflowers.
As she walked along the stream, soft grass tickled her feet. She had forgotten how much she liked walking outside while barefoot.
A single squirrel ran in front of her, startling her. Each paused and stared at the other, like idiots. Like they had never encountered another living being. Finally, the squirrel sauntered off, carrying an acorn like he owned the place.
A hawk in the distance saw its prey and she knew it would be over soon. Yet, the squirrel sat happily, just like her glass bottle. Calm. Relaxed. His fate mattered little as he rejoiced in the feast before him.
In that moment, the squirrel and woman locked eyes once again and she heard very clearly this time: You create your own happiness.
The wine bottle came back into focus, the oak and willow no longer fused. She suddenly knew that the kids would enjoy a trip to the waterpark for their holiday weekend, that her husband would enjoy cooking brats on the grill. Nothing around her had changed. The cluster of death stared back at her like any other morning. But something internal had shifted.
I create my own happiness.
She smiled as she thought of the squirrel. The dumb, innocent squirrel. A laugh escaped her mouth, the first in months.
Had any of that been real? Seeing squirrels, visiting an enchanted valley. Maybe it doesn’t matter, she realized. The spark of life felt renewed in her as she said a silent prayer of gratitude.
Thank you, to whoever. Thank you.
The Wine Bottle and the Squirrel is part of a series called Welcome to the Green World, a collection of fables and stories from Nature and The Otherworld.
Kristin D. Jones incorporates metaphysics, esoteric symbols, and traditional Reiki to create meaningful Earth Reiki practices that heal both the person and the environment. She is currently writing her latest book, Earth Reiki: Heal Yourself While Healing the Environment, from her home in northern Illinois. Follow more of her posts on Facebook,Twitter, or Instagram.