It brought a sense of foreboding as did everything new. No matter how beautiful or alluring it seemed; something new always carried the tentative scent of the undiscovered betwixt its unfolded domains. Fidgeting in her seat, Ava took a deep breath and released it slowly to calm herself down, although the vernal scenery that graced the landscape outside the carriage window should have been enough to drive away any discomfort.
The ride was not uncomfortable as the road was not steep. It was rutted though, for many carriages and horses rode through it, but the groovy tracks presented no hindrance; the trails of wheels and hooves carved in the mud by the repetition of movement helped rather to draw the passage for the oncoming trailers rendering it easy to cross for the wearied carriage and the petite traveler inside it.
The path led straight ahead, no curves or turns and the carriage seemed to keep moving on rocking to the lullaby of the giant maple trees that extended along the route, with entwining branches blocking parts of the trickling rays of the dawning sun. Every few meters, yellowish grasses appeared, scorched by the timidly rising heat, a constant stimulant throughout the reeling scenery. The breeze lazily brushed the dewy leaves laden with the early morning humidity, as the peculiar scent of the countryside slowly filled the already heavy air. It was a typical rural sunrise slowly descending upon a typical poorly paved, still empty, rural way.
The journey has been enveloped by silence, much to the girl’s liking. The coachman outside was focusing on his ride and Ava had no desire or energy to spend on trivial talks. Something weighed heavily in hear heart. The young girl still found the need to look at something else beside the natural scenery, something familiar drawn from the images of her own memories. Unfamiliarity, that what weighed heavily on the girl’s frail chest, and although she could anticipate or imagine what the farm at the end of the maple - lined road would look like, she did not. She hated expectations for she’d learned earlier of their deceit when she left her hometown to attend a prestigious ballet dancing school four years ago.
Ava thought back to that time, when she left her family’s home. The thrill of packing her belongings, the eagerness of experiencing something new, then the fear that erupted of nowhere at the train station, and lastly the quiet, anti – climatic acceptance upon arriving at the school. Wishing to slide no further on the reel of the emotions shaping the previous four years, she drifted her gaze to her baggage in an attempt to occupy her attention with yet another thing; she had two big bags and a much smaller one that contained souvenirs for her waiting mother, aunt and remaining siblings. A ghost of frustration passed her face; she has bought everyone a small present, but not herself, particularly not the snow globe with the figurine of the small ballerina dancing inside. She’s always seen the doll on passing the gift store, always admired it but never got down to actually buying it. And when she bought the gifts before departing she deliberately left it out of the purchase, saving it for later, like an anchor to pull her back to the city after her brief vacation. Besides, she didn’t want to look so self – absorbed, having a small ballerina figurine like herself, as if flagging her ballet - centered life in the face of her family.
Which led her thoughts in the direction of said family. Her family had moved to their farm few months ago. Cleaner air and calmer entourage, her mother claimed in the letter she sent her. But Ava knew business provided an additional reason. Once an abandoned project bought on a whim and never suitably tended to, it seemed now that this farm is providing the new means for earning a living the previous ones had failed to supply. Ava could correctly assume this truth though never directly stated in the letters she had received from her mother.
Unlike her tossing thoughts, Ava’s eyes did not stray for long from the scenery outside. Her attention now pulled to the view by the coachman’s comments, though mostly to himself, on his admiration for the “magnificent maple trees”. The girl looked with her full senses at the large blossoming trees guarding the road. She could never tell on her own what kind were these trees, and she did not bother to ask as she could still admire their beauty even in her ignorance.
Then the lack of houses along the road drew her attention. Save for few small scattered cottages that increased in number as the carriage approached its destination. And while Ava saw no figures or shadows, the smoke streaming and tainting the wooden roofs, and the few articles of clothes hanged outside proved people lived there. Were they farmer working in their own little lands, or were they farmers working in someone else’s lands, like her family’s perhaps? These people lived in such small distant place, yet the swaggering carriage did not stir them to lift a curtain at least. The driver’s announcement about approaching their intended place took Ava’s notice from this matter. The sun rose fully now, widely threading her rays, and the distant chirping of some morning birds broke the stillness of that summer dawn, adding a color to the silent picture humans drew.