She knew that it was not possible to go back to the past. Yet despite the fact that it is not possible to go back in time in the physical sense, she had wanted to go back in her mind, to reconnect and to recover what had happened there in an effort to find herself again. For that had been the worst thing about the illness. She had felt that she did not know who she was any more. And so, on a hot August day she had sat by the stone church wall, remembering, thinking and meditating. As she sat, she became aware of the village again, now much changed, and yet with some of the same components. Dogs barking in the distance, the shire horses going up and down the hill upon whch the church had been built way back in time, tractors passing by, children on bikes, making the noises that children do. No, those things hadn’t changed. But there were more cars, many more cars. The High Street now felt more like a highway, and often it was almost impossible to cross the road. There was an ice cream parlour now, too, and a caravan park. Signs of progress was it? She did not know.
It was harvest time, and the bright red rowan berries on the rowan tree in the churchyard had taken her attention. They had seemed to her to herald the end of the summer. Soon, it would be cold and icy on the hill. But she remembered the harvest. Her grandparents had had a farm a little way out of the village, where they grew wheat, barley and oats. The harvest time was a wonderful time of celebration, when her grandparents would get men from the village to go and help get in the harvest. There would be an amazing party atmosphere, with the men sitting around on the hot ground under the blazing sun, eating piles of sandwiches and drinking urns of tea that her grandmother had provided. The men would be singing and laughing, so glad that they had got the harvest in in time. Occasionally the dog, a liver and white spaniel called Shot, would chase a rabbit that had wanted to join in the fun. A huge shout had gone up telling Shot not to chase the poor unfortunate rabbit. She remembered having helped the men to stook the corn, and then looking at her handiwork with pleasure. She had done well. There was a certain way in which to do it and She had done it exactly as it should be done.
She had sat by the churchyard and remembered all these things and more, and her heart had been both gladdened and saddened, for that time had gone now, as had the people. Her grandparents were no more, and neither were her uncles and indeed most of the men in the village who had gone to the farm and helped with the harvest. She laughed, she smiled and she grieved. But then the darker memories had come back. The ones where the slipping had begun. The ones where there were no safe arms to hold her. The ones where there had always been an abyss to fall into.
She and her parents had lived up the hill out of the village, in a tiny cottage with a rather romantic name. But it was far from romantic. And this was where the slipping began. The slipping that had become a feature of her whole life, until she had finally landed on the river bank about to slip, forever, into the deep water.