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  • Linda Odhner, with photos by Liz Kufs

Excerpted Inspirations #24


"Later in the evening when the moon had come up, Aunt Martha opened the door that looked down toward the orchard.

"'Nancy,' she said, 'come and look at the orchard by moonlight.'

"Nancy ran to the door.

"'I will stand here on the piazza,' said Aunt Martha, 'while you run way down in the orchard all by yourself.'

"'All by myself? Couldn't you come too?'

"'No, you go all by yourself -- way down into the heart of the orchard. I'll be right here watching you. There's nothing to be afraid of. Run along.'

"'I'm not afraid,' said Nancy, and went toward the orchard.

"No, she was not afraid, but this was certainly a most surprising day! To go out all by herself at night! She began to run. She ran until she was right in the middle of the orchard. There were apple blossoms all around her; she was even walking on some of the fallen petals. It was like being in a house made entirely of pink and white flowers. No, it wasn't like being in a house at all -- it was like being out-of-doors in a world made of apple blossoms. Now Nancy could not run any more. She hardly wanted to walk or even to breathe. The moon shining down on the orchard made it even lovelier than it had been in the daytime -- with a kind of loveliness Nancy had never known before.

"It was wonderful to be all alone in a world of apple blossoms. Suddenly she noticed how white her dress looked in the moonlight -- it was a shimmering white. She put her hand up and touched her hair, half-wondering if it might have turned curly and golden. She began to walk on tiptoe from tree to tree, stopping to look up into each one. She held out her arms as if to gather in all the loveliness. Then slowly she turned and walked back to the house.

"Aunt Martha was waiting for her, and Nancy went up on the piazza to stand beside her and look once more at the beauty she had just been a part of.

"'Once when I was a little girl about your age,' said Aunt Martha, 'Grandpa let me go out in a blossoming apple orchard all alone in the moonlight. I have always remembered.'

"'I will remember, too,' said Nancy.

"And together they went into the lamplit kitchen."

-Jennie D. Lindquist, The Golden Name Day (1955), pp. 113-117


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