Summer Landscape and Poisonous Mushrooms

By Adina Pelle

I walked up the hill behind the villa and sat down my easel just above the valley, in the shade of a gigantic oak tree.  I  had a broad perspective of the valley: the  dark, deep green, edge  of the woods in the background, and right below the rusted color of the crops of wheat, same  color as  the fur of a cat I used to pet when a child.  The curve laying between the road and the valley and in the foreground the –blue sky glowing, ending into a slipstream of fading clouds where the horizon merged with the sinuous lines of the hills.

It was mid-summer and a day seemingly created to end up on a canvas.

First, the gray- shape outlining the valley, then the fleeting lines edging the woods, the valley, the sky.  Another brush to throw in sharp, live  lines,  in areas where the  fields-intersected.

The sun light clearly contoured the trees, the air vibrated in the distance from the mid afternoon heat framing my quiet corner, away from all noisy human presence.

Alas, recklessly jumping from one foot to another, a girl of no more than ten years old, dressed in a gray frock with pale green flowers and light blue strips did everything she could to get my attention.

Her pupils had the shade of lilacs, and she wore her hair in two tight pigtails.

“I’m Cora,” she said extending her hand suddenly.

“You live in the village in the valley?”  I asked the girl.

Smiling with a slightly comic superiority, she answered:

“Oh, no … I’m on vacation at my grandparents!  And I like to walk alone through the woods …

I collect mushrooms … want to see them?  “

In the basket, amongst some weeds, withered and shaken I saw three or four purple hats, dotted with white polka dots.

“-I think those are not edible!”  I said half worried and half amused.

“Sure they are not! I picked them because I like how they look and because I want to hurt someone!”  Then she immediately continued, whispering:

“Can you keep a secret?  It is because the teacher forced me to sit next to a foul boy named Lawrence.  He tells everyone that I do not have a father, which is not true…”

“It is not nice of you to seek such a terrible revenge on someone just because he upsets you,” I frowned at the girl.

She looked at me with big lilac eyes.

I looked up to see the sky suddenly darkened towards the west,   and the half-burned leaves from the trees around began to murmur the well-known song of an upcoming rain.  I picked up my easel and quickly walked towards the rough trail with the girl closely following me.

At the fork in the road, at the bottom of the hill, she asked me when I will be back to paint in the meadow and quickly added laughing:

-“You didn’t think I’d poison anybody, did you?”

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