A light rain falls on the trail I tread, an ancient peddler route that stretches a day’s walk from an inland village to a dying hamlet teetering at the edge of the Baltic Sea. The trail narrows to a path edged by rowan trees and wild crab apple, late-blooming thistle and wildflowers with intriguing names: dog-biscuit, saw-wort, cow-wheat, devil’s bit. A few assiduous bees brave the drizzle. Over a stile, into a pasture, cows come bustling importantly—five curious, bulky matrons with ugly EU-mandated ear tags, their monstrous udders swinging. On the other side of the pasture the forest begins and the path remembers that it is a shortcut, a by-way, the way to the village, the by. I pass the razed remains of a crofter cottage, where ghosts of perhaps eleven homesick children remain, their descendants at rest in American graveyards.

About the author

Janice D. Soderling is a wannabe time traveler. There must be a better warp to live in. A previous contributor to Literary Bohemian, she…

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Issue 17 · March 2013

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