by Angela Cannon=Crothers
The Appalachian Trail in Vermont. My first child was born in Vermont. I was married in Vermont, on a hill top. A simple ceremony: Justice of the Peace, a witness, two gold rings. Six years later I am the mother of two and freshly fleshed from divorce, trail guiding back in Vermont. Not much pay, but a much needed vacation. Days in, after huffing up mountains carrying group gear, extra gear for those unable, and brewing Earl Gray for our elder hiker each morning, I was gifted a late afternoon respite at Stratton Pond. I sat out on a log over the water, discovering half hidden newts with finny tails and red bellies, like gems, swimming below. Newts transform twice in their lifetimes, from water to land, and back again. Like me. Shimmer of sun. Cold skinny dip in clear water. After, I was rummaging deep within my backpack for a bandanna to dry off with, when I felt it. My wedding ring. Having thought it was lost and gone for good I nearly laughed out loud at the pure coincidence of finding it here, back in Vermont. I rolled the dull gold around my fingers, memories circling. Pulling my arm behind, with great force, I threw the ring out toward the center of Stratton Pond. Here it would settle to the weedy bottom, a play thing for bright bellied newts and sparkling water. There it would always be. This, at least, would never be lost again.
IMAGE: “The Charmer” by John William Waterhouse (1911).
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This piece of prose for the “Lost and Found” Series came from a 4,000-word chapter in my unpublished memoir on the spirit of place. The ending is still, essentially, the same.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Angela Cannon-Crothers is a writer, naturalist, environmental educator, and college instructor in environmental science and writing. She was a finalist for the AROHO Orlando Prize for Nonfiction in 2011. Her work includes a book, Our Voices, Our Wisdom; An Herb Haven Year, a children’s book: Grape Pie Season, and a novel: The Wildcrafter. Her articles and essays have appeared in Orion, Northern Woodlands, Life in the Finger Lakes, BackHome, and the literary journal Stone Canoe. She lives on a small farm, in a bermed house, in the Finger Lakes of New York, while she finishes raising her youngest teenager daughter. She thinks that someday soon she may try a wilder, more wanderlust, life again.