IN THE WOODED SILENCE
BY: JEFFREY W. JUDKINS
“The May afternoon was picture perfect. The sweet smell of the moist Earth, mingling with the warming Sun. Trees budding, flowers blooming, warm breeze, and an occasional bumble-bee. The Black~flies were out, and in full force as well.
The long and forgotten trail was overgrown with living and dead branches. Roots, mud,
and rocks beneath my feet slowed my pace.
“Who walked this trail before me?” I wondered. It could be traced back to a time when Native Americans were here.
There was a growing closeness to the air, as if walking with someone centuries ago.
A ﬂicker of white over my left shoulder caught my eye. I stopped for a moment, waiting
for the sound of crunching leaves or twigs. . . .. There was none. I could smell the waters of
Pennesseewassee ahead. I topped a small knoll, and stared at the field of water before me.
I set my pack on the ground. Warm, dry, moss in a patch of Sun, made it perfect place to
sit for awhile and let my mind drift.
Once again I saw the flicker of white, this time to my right. Watching carefully, I realized
that someone or something was watching me. I could have sworn it was a human face, partially hidden behind some pines. It then disappeared behind some brush. A moment later, the most beautiful doe emerged into the clearing. It studied me for a moment, then walked into the direction I had just come from. I was enchanted by it’s beauty and silent grace.
After awhile, I laid back with my pack for a pillow, and then relaxed, the suns warmth
making me drowsy. Soon, I was in the state between sleep and Iucidity; where one is aware of their surroundings, yet surrealism plays the upper hand.
I sensed being watched. Not an uneasy feeling. . . .. but different.
“Hello.” A woman’s voice said. She was coming up the trail like a silent whisper, never
making a sound. She was dressed in jeans and flannel shirt, long, black hair pulled behind her in a ponytail. She appeared to be in her twenties, fair skin. Her face was slightly weathered, but not in a detrimental way. I suspected by her appearance that she was Native American.
“Good afternoon.” I replied, not sure if I were awake or asleep. “Didn’t hear you coming.”
She smiled warmly. “I haven’t seen you around here before. . . .” Then added, “I haven’t
seen people out here for many years.”
She cautiously came closer, a few steps at a time.
“So you’re from the area huh?” I asked, swatting the black-flies away from my face.
“My Clan settled here over two-hundred years ago.” She said matter-of~factly. “Disease and brutally cold winters took the lives of many.” She talked as if it happened yesterday, as if she had experienced it ﬁrst hand. She looked to the ground and smiled. Then, bending over; she picked some Mayflowers. She somehow twisted the ﬂowers in some of her hair and slid them behind her ear. “I come here everyday to pray and meditate, to absorb mother-earth and her life.”
“I see. . lt’s a good place for that type of thing.” I said, with lack of a better response.
“May l sit with you for awhile?” She asked, surprising me.
“Of course.” I replied, shifting around for comfort. “I’ve got a coat you can sit on if you
“No thank you.” She stretched back on her elbows, legs straight out in front of her. Tilting
her neck back and embracing the serenity. “Are you ever going to tell me your name?” She asked with a tender, poking tone.
“Oh. . .err. . .sorry.” I sat up. “Robert, Robert Fields. And you?”
“Lilly. But my Spiritual name is different. It means; ’The doe that walks on air.’
“Hmm. . .” So you are Native American. What tribe if I may ask?”
“Abenakis‘. Were the chief tribe. But in this area we were known as the ‘Pennesseewassee
Clan’, the surrounding area used to be called ’Where the fruitful land slopes down to the shining
water.’ And the lake used to be called ’The Great Pond.’
I couldn’t take my eyes off from hers. They were piercing, eyes that could look into your
soul, penetrate, read your thoughts. Eyes that caught yours and held them there. “What brings you to this part of the woods?” She asked.
“Just exploring. Thinking of things. A good place to clear the mind.”
“Are you out here alone?” I asked.
“Yes. .“ Lilly hesitated. “But I can protect myself just ﬁne. Spirits are watching over me as
well.” She said firmly, her eyes locking mine.
We sat in silence for a short time while I thought of ‘spirits’ and what the true story was
with this woman named ‘Lilly’ in the middle of the wooded nowhere.
“So, can you communicate with these ‘spirits?’
She laughed. “Yes. As easy as you and I are talking together.”
“You’re joking. . . ” I said nervously. “That’s why your laughing.”
She sighed, then shook her head. “It’s not that. It’s ironic that some of the most spiritually
sensitive people are the most skeptical of spiritual reality.”
I poked around in my pack, mumbling. “I thought I brought water with me.”
“Here.” She said, passing a bottle to me. “It’s just water and some herbs for flavor and
The water was sweet, with a touch of spiciness.
She sat closer to me, our bodies nearly touching. “Are you married?”
“No. . .” I began to feel woozy. “You?”
“Not yet.” Lilly answered. “Soon I hope. . …so0n.”
“I feel strange…”
“Hope you’re alright.” Lilly began looking around her.
I shook my head. “I’ll be ﬁne.” I was surprised when she leaned on my shoulder.
I felt her tense up, and press her body tightly against mine. “I sense something. . .not good.”
The silence grew stronger, not a sound to be heard. I felt some kind of change coming
over me. Not bad, but as if my surroundings were different.
She grabbed my arm tightly and began to tremble. “Stone-Heart”. Her voice shook.
I looked around and saw no one. “What. . .?” And then I saw him. A male Indian about six
feet tall, wrapped in some type of rawhide. He had cold, blood-thirsty eye’s that magnified his
presence. He was standing about twenty feet away. . . ..just staring. After a few moments, he turned and walked over a hill, looking back before going out of sight.
It was then that I noticed that Lilly’s appearance had changed. . .she was dressed in
buckskin, with shells and beads. She was even more captivating than before. There was a radiance about her.
“What the hell. . .?”
She put a ﬁnger over my lips. “It’s okay.”
There was no sound of vehicles on the ’Lake Road’. Trees stood across the water where
the mill should have been. The water had dropped considerably, as if the dam was gone
completely. There were no houses to be seen.
“That was Stone-Heart.” She whispered. “He watches me like a coyote stalks it‘s prey.”
“Why?” I asked, trying to absorb my surroundings, and what she was saying at the same
“Jealousy.” She glanced at me, and then looked away. “I refused to marry him. . .he has a
“What’s going on here?” I insisted. “Was there something in that drink you gave me?”
“This is so strange.” I thought, trying to take it in. I held her in my arms, nestling my nose
in her dark hair. I kissed the top of her head. “Sorry.” I said, letting her go. I wanted to leave, but
felt held there by some inner pull. I felt pulled toward her.
“Please don’t leave me. . . ..stay awhile.” Her dark eyes calling mine.
“I won’t.” I replied… uncontrollably.
“I’ve been in this part of the spirit world for over 400 years,” she began. “Searching for my spiritual lover. When I Find him, Stone-Heart will leave me alone.”
“So.. ..am I in the spirit world?”
“Yes. . . .”
“Am I dead?”
“No. . .” Lilly managed a smile. “. . . gifted.”
“What’s it like to be in love?” She asked out of the blue, catching me off guard.
I thought for a moment. “Well. . .when you love someone, you love them for who they
are. You want to spend your time with them as much as possible. There’s a bond between the two of you that conquers all hardships. You tell them your secrets and they still want to be with you. You can plan a future together, have children. . . .”
“Future…” She said with sorrow. “What if you fall in love, then never see that person again? Would love still be there?”
“Yes. .” I replied. “True love lasts forever. If you really love someone, you would place
their life as more important than your own. You cherish them in your heart.”
“I want to fall in love.” Lilly said with childlike innocence. “Are you in love with someone now?”
“No. .”. I replied, then without control added, “I want to soon though.”
She smiled as she pulled me down a bit, and rubbed her nose on mine. “Will you love me. . . . and show me how to love back?”
I was entranced by this beauty. I kissed her softly on the lips. “You just met me.”
She held me tight, and rested her forehead against mine “I want to love and make you
happy. . .be with you forever. .” She stood, taking my hand and pulling me up with her.
I saw a coyote in the shadows, watching.
Lilly led me to the shoreline. There were several rocks that were like stepping stones, that led to a small island. There, a few thin birch and tall pines had grown. Large boulders sat randomly, as well as roots. Water snakes slithered away from our path, and into the water or thick underbrush. We continued to the furthest end of the Isle, where there was a clearing; and a large, flat, white, wide rock that sloped casually into the water. I took my shoes and socks off, then rolled my pant legs up as Lilly walked in up to her knees. I then did the same.
The water was still cold from winter and spring, it was invigorating.
“What are you thinking about?” Lilly asked.
“How peaceful I feel.”
“Purity.” She said, cupping water in her hands and rinsing her face. The water droplets glistened in the afternoon sun, ripples around her creating waves of gold.
She took my hand and led me to the top of the rock, where we sat in the sun.
“What will Stone-Heart do if he sees us like this?” I asked, noticing the coyote had moved to where it could watch us.
“Don’t worry about him. I know his sneaky ways.”
This was of little comfort after the earlier incident where he spooked the hell out of both of us.
She placed my hand on her outer thigh, kissing my neck. Nature was her perfume. . . . .sweet. . . ..seductive, as if she had rubbed a variety of flowers over her body. A flower in the wild.
Everything had gone so differently today than planned. Now I was falling in love with a woman I had just met, a woman I found to be irresistible.
The cry of a loon broke my reverie.
“Let’s be in love together.” She said with such innocence, like you willed love to happen. “Then get married. . .have children. .”
“Whoa. .I hardly know you.”
“Do you want to marry someone else?”
“No.” I answered.
“Do you want to marry me?”
“Yes.” I said, the reply coming from my lips without permission. “Well, I mean. . . .”
She pressed her lips against mine, silencing me “Don’t ﬁght it then.”
We walked back to the mossy area where we had ﬁrst met. We laid down, her body over mine, and after some time had passed, she rested her head on my chest as I held her tight. Her heart, I could feel against me. I felt her body relax as she fell into a sleep. I too was drowsy, and closed my eyes while I wondered what to do next concerning her and I.
I was awakened by rain splattering upon my face. It was nearly dark. Lilly wasn’t beside me. I called aloud to her several times, but got no reply. I also realized I could hear trafﬁc on the Lake Road, and see the mill across the water. “Had a wacky dream.” I said aloud to the wooded silence.
It was now pouring , I grabbed my pack and headed for home. While still on the trail leading back to the road, I caught glimpses of white. I didn’t stop to look.
I felt a little relief when I reached the main road and walked down it away. I felt a strong urge to look back. When I did, I saw the same beautiful doe I had seen in the woods earlier watching me.
I was soaked by the time I got home. I took my wet clothes off and threw them on the floor. I thought the dream over as I showered. How vivid it was. I felt either spooked or enlightened by the dream, it was unclear. Maybe a bit of both. I gathered some dirty clothes together and it was then that I checked in my backpack. There were some mayﬂowers, tied together in a bunch; with a clipping of long black hair, and prayer beads. There was also a note:
“Goodnight my love. Pleasant dreams.
I want to tell you a secret tomorrow,
And spend my time with you forever.”