At dusk, I strolled down a country lane near my house watching the color drain from the landscape. I listened to the spring peepers, watched a sparrow flit from branch to branch and felt the evening breeze lift a curl from my forehead.
I thought of Maureen.
Maureen walks a lot in my book, DIVIDED LOYALTIES. A simple country girl on a mission, she walks to town, to church, to Antietam Creek and, of course, to the battlefield hospitals where she believes she can do her best work.
It was on the country lane near my house that many scenes from my Civil War story came to life.
I imagined her listening to the rustling of leaves in the trees on the day after the battle, clinging to her friends, afraid but undaunted.
I thought of her seeing countryside she knew as well as I know my garden—but recognizing that war had changed it.
I imagined how the road would feel under her feet, how the sounds around her would affect her, how her thoughts would invade every moment of her travels.
I did all that by walking. In honesty, I walked to satisfy the demands of my Fitbit. But every moment I walked, I thought of Maureen and her story.
I didn’t think of this as I wrote, but I have realized her purposeful stride is a symbol of the strong girl she is. She walked when others told her not to. She walked when others told her it was dangerous. She walked because if she didn’t she could not do what she was determined to do. She walked in pain, in sorrow, in joy and in love. She walked with courage. She walked with fear. She walked with friends, strangers and enemies.
She’s still walking. Now that the book is done, she’ll keep on walking as long as someone asks her to.
What kindles your imagination?