Thickets of tiny wildflowers dappled like snow against the verdant grass that met the sky at the horizon.

I awoke there in times of great stress, great hardship, great danger. Fourteen times, more or less, wandering under a warm late-afternoon sun that never shifted in the sky amid scents that never seemed to dim.

The shade usually appears in the distance, as indistinct as a watercolor. She draws away from me when I approach, her path musical with gentle laughter, and I am only able to catch up to her through trickery.

This time, I doubled back in a series of narrowing concentric circles to approach her figure, as indistinct up close as it was from afar.

“Where is this place,” I asked, “and who are you?”

“It is a place of safety from which to confront a hostile world, cared-for and loved by the only one who ever did the same for you.”

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