Ruth hopped along the edge of the wheat fields, dancing with the dandelion seeds. She had a private game that she played, where she would pick a stalk with its frozen explosion of fluff, carrying it with her, dancing with the wind, trying to protect it from blowing away but daring it to fly at the same time.
One arm outstretched with the trembling, spidery dandelion, she spun over the clover and wild strawberries, on down the mosses and between the ferns, flying over the dappled dry orange needles of the forest floor that led down to the lakeshore.
Inevitably the wind would win, and her quiet laughter was carried away with the tiny parachuting seeds as they sailed out over the waves and scattered.
Everyone who met her found Ruth to be a quiet, shy, polite little girl; but her parents knew a different side. When Ruth’s mother rang the dinner bell, and she came skipping over the road with a bundle of flowers and leaves in hand, Father exchanged a knowing look with Mother.
When there was company, it would be a quiet dinner. But when there wasn’t, little shy Ruth would turn into a tornado of questions.
“Why don’t the fishes climb up on land, Poppa?” and “How do the apples know when they are ripe?”
“Why do the bees love the garden so much?” and “But the roses, how do they grow in different colors from the same plant?”
And her mother would carefully try to explain how grafting roses worked, as more questions flew rapid-fire from Ruth.