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Just Be Still & Photo Winner Lynn Dean

Congratulations to photo contest winner Lynn Dean! Her winning photo below was the inspiration behind this story of two siblings, Wren and Rowan, who recall childhood memories from summers long gone. Childhood turns the natural into magical and beckons our return, offering the gift of serenity.

Photo Credit: Lynn Dean

It’s funny the way childhood memories enlarge the true size or significance of places and things. Coming back to this magical, childhood place now as an adult had Wren lost in thought. She sat on the boards of the small dock her father had built decades ago and rolled up her pant legs. Skimming her toes into the water below, she heard footsteps and turned to look.

“I figured I could find you here,” her brother Rowan said. “It was always your favorite spot out here.”

Shielding her eyes from the sun to look at him, Wren smiled and motioned for Rowan to sit. “It’s been so long since I’ve been here. Everything looks the same, but different.”

“Kinda like growing old, huh? You gotta tell me what it’s like,” Rowan replied.

Wren shoved his shoulder in a good-natured way. “I’m only two years older than you, you know that right?”

“I don’t know. I was born in a whole different decade that you. Makes a heap of difference if you ask me.”

Sighing Wren looked out across the pond and the sun peeking through the trees. The reflection on the water was a mirror image of the sky and surrounding nature. She slowly circled her toes in the water and watched as the ripples fanned out, wrinkling the photographic image.

“All those summers we’d come here. I swear this place looked like an ocean back then, and the dock was a mile long,” Wren mused.

“Well it was, to us at least. I remember I used to think I caught a fish the size of a great white shark off this dock. I came across the picture several years back--that thing was a bass about a foot long.”

“Ha ha ha, I remember that! You even named him Jaws and told everybody you came across that you had caught a shark. It also made you think a little too highly of yourself, and I had to bring you back down to earth.”

“Oh, you mean that day when you got up and pushed me, chair and all, into the water?” Rowan asked.

“Like you didn’t know it was coming! You kept going on and on about how many giant fish there were, and it how it was my fault that I couldn’t catch anything. Sometimes a girl has to cut her brother back down to size,” Wren said playfully.

“You’re lucky I never let go of my pole. Ick, I can still remember coming up out of there. Water was pouring from everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE!”

Wren started laughing and said, “Boy you sure did look like Swamp Thing! Too bad my camera was up at the cabin. You never would have lived that one down!”

“We had some good times here. Hide and seek, tag, watching the lightning bugs,” Rowan said.

“Skipping rocks, s’mores, stick fighting. Back then, it seemed like there was always going to be one more summer.”

“Yeah, it was hard that first summer you didn’t come once you left for college. Felt like the magic had left. It never was the same again.”

“That was a long time ago,” Wren said and then paused. “Sitting here now, I can still feel like I did back when we were little. All the wonder and looking forward to the fun we were bound to have. I halfway feel like I should be figuring out what board game we’re going to play tonight.”

Rowan put his hand over her shoulder and said, “You know, we still can. I never moved the games out of the closet. You can pick whichever game you want us to play. Just, you know, prepare yourself to lose.”

“That’s a great idea, but we both know I would win. Before we go inside, I’d like to sit here for a little bit longer if you don’t mind.”

“Sure thing. I’ll be inside whenever you’re ready,” Rowan said. His knees cracked and popped as he went to get up.

“Might want to get some grease on those joints too!” Wren teased.

“Yeah, I’ll pick some up at the store when I grab diapers for you.”

Wren swatted at his leg in jest, and then turned her attention back to the pond. The wonder and magic was still here. Perhaps in a different scale, but definitely still here. She closed her eyes and lifted her head upwards, letting the peek-a-boo sun cover her face. Squirrels scampered in the distance, and two birds began playing tag overhead. Everything else melted away and she was free to just be still.



Lynn Dean won Southern Holly's first photo contest with this picture. Taken by her in Bremen, Georgia, this was photo invokes a sense of peace and oneness with nature.

Receiving photo credit for her submission, this story was inspired by and written for this particular image. It will also be shared across Southern Holly's social media pages.

Congratulations Lynn!

Photo Credit: Lynn Dean

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