Helen can’t identify the strange sonorous sounds coming from outside. Usually in her little corner of the world, the loudest noise early in the morning is the red squirrels arguing with each other as they sit on branches, trees apart.
But this sound is unfamiliar, not the high-pitched shrill squirrel bickering she’s used to. Helen runs out the front door, the spring rain falling on her as she instinctively looks upward. A strange looking plane is overhead. Old-fashioned propellers make a swishing sound, yet the beautiful light blue body is sleek. Helen notices the glint of sun on the front, which of course isn’t possible because it’s raining. But no – there, on the left horizon, blue sky emerges, along with an impossibly bright rainbow.
The plane is close enough that she sees a door open from the belly of the plane. A belly door? Whatever, something soft and white flows out of this opening – a lot of somethings. A few float down toward her, and the flying object moves on south, toward the part of town that is more congested with neighborhoods and storefronts.
By now, the sun is shining brightly as if rain never existed, as if squirrels never bicker and as if life is easy and enjoyable. With a sigh, Helen turns back toward her tiny cabin in the woods.
Her friends call her Henrietta T (a take-off of Henry David Thoreau) because of her desire to live alone in the woods, to live a simple life, to not depend on anyone, and to earn a meager existence from her writing.
She thinks of herself more as Louisa May Alcott of Little Women fame than Henry. Like Louisa, Helen chooses to be single and to live by her words. That said, she sometimes yearns for a soul mate, but has decided that none exists.
One of the leaflets, for that’s what seems to have floated down like white handkerchiefs, has fallen into her row of pink tulips that she planted last fall. She plants her feet firmly in front of her, dismayed at this act of litter.
“Who, now, is supposed to pick up all of this trash? Henrietta T, of course,” she mutters, charging toward the paper, grabbing it with a ferocity that surprises her. Can’t she just be left alone? Can’t the world just leave her alone?
But she might as well see what the leaflet is selling. A new restaurant opening? A coupon for a six-pack of beer? Her skepticism shrouds her like a shadow. Helen opens the wrinkled soft paper and reads:
Helen falls to her knees, allowing the tears to roll down her face like a salvation. Alcott’s quote opens her like the tulips in her garden, whose pedals joyfully greet the sun.
Perhaps she should try to be more like a tulip, and less like a bickering squirrel.