Chapter 1

That Old Stump

The creek ran through the back of the woods in that low down place behind the hill.
Every time Marcy crested that hill, and the creek came into view, she would ponder where that black water came down from. "There must be a lake some hills away", she thought, "Father may take me there when the walk is not so hot".
Down the embankment and across the black creek Marcy grasped a fallen sycamore and crawled along. Her reflection waved to her with a shimmer as she knocked tree bark to the water below. Bare feet and dirtied palms gripped one of the many newly fallen sycamore trees.
Marcy's dress remained clean even after a day out in the woods; Her woods, that knew her as well as she knew it. She had mentally cataloged her half-days walk in the wooded land above her home. Each clump of azalea and arm of hanging moss formed a daily welcoming committee for her to embrace.
Marcy pulled herself up the far side of the creek slope with the bare roots she had used yesterday. Exposed red clay gave way to better footing as she stepped to the leaf covered ground above.
There sat the stump.
Pushed from the ground what had to have been a million years before. Father could never recall when or even if he had cut the tree from the stump, no matter how many times Marcy asked. No tree grew near for at least fifteen paces out. As if Marcy's woods respectfully allowed the stump space to mourn its loss in peace. Its grey sides sloped down to the ground while its smooth top met Marcy's waist. "Must have been a man with a saw" she thought.

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