THE CABIN by Smoky Trudeau
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There was a deep connectedness between mountain women in the Allegheny Mountains of Virginia, a connectedness that transcended the tangible, yet was as real as the forest itself. It was a part of the mountain magic, her grandmother had taught her when she was a young child, and it was particularly strong between Corrine and her sister, Catherine.
For this reason alone, Corrine never doubted her sister would know when it was time to come; would know when her baby was about to make her entrance into the world. Whatever distance lay between them, with Corrine living in the cabin on
The childbirth had been difficult, far more difficult than what she’d experienced when her son was born three years prior. But Catherine had remained calm, her voice soothing, encouraging Corrine through every contraction while William, Corrine’s husband, fretted a trail of footprints from the bedroom door to the hearth and back again as he tried to console Cyrus, who, bewildered by his mother’s screams of pain, wailed with equal intensity.
“I’m going to die,” Corrine whispered to her sister. “I saw it in a dream. William, and Cyrus, and the baby, but I was gone.” She let out a gasp as yet another contraction wracked her body. Catherine took her sister’s feet in her hands, pressing firmly on the soft pad of her heel and the inside corner of her ankle until the pain eased and the contraction passed.
“You aren’t going to die. I’m not going to let you die.” Catherine dipped a rag into a pitcher of water, and mopped the sweat from Corrine’s face and chest.
“Promise me…Catherine, look at me!”
Catherine put down the rag.
“Promise me, if anything happens to me…” One last contraction and with a bloodcurdling scream, she pushed her daughter into the world.
Corrine could hear the forest calling her, whispering her name as the soft winds of spring warmed the mountain. She’d never gone so many days without walking through her beloved forest, along its streams and game trails. Since
True, it made her husband nervous when she went off by herself. She wasn’t sure why—William was a circuit rider preacher, and often was gone for months at a time as he rode the circuit, preaching the gospel at every home and village in the Shenandoah Valley that would have him. Perhaps when he was gone he simply imagined she stayed tucked cozily into the mountainside cabin, never venturing beyond the gardens, small pasture and barn. And while she didn’t wish to cause him anxiety with her forays away from the safety of the cabin, he really did worry needlessly. She felt as at home walking through the woods as a bear or bobcat might. Corrine was raised in the mountains. Mountain women were both strong and intuitive. She was confident William knew in his head she was as capable of fending for herself and their two children, but she recognized his heart often told him something different.