My mother shook herself and scratched herself. We walked along a narrow path, through meadows with yellow flowers alternating with fields, perhaps wheat fields.

“There,” said my father, pointing his stick horizontally away from himself at a second forest that looked like the first, which I had taken for a fir or a pine forest or an evergreen forest of some other kind, “there we can rest.”

I saw peasants standing in Sunday clothes at the backs of their fields. Their legs, their stomachs, were covered by the grain. They were giving worried looks, now up to heaven, now down at their fields.

“There’s a storm coming up,” they called out to each other.

Our shadows kept getting less and less visible on the path. I looked down, to make sure I didn’t bump into a stone. Meanwhile the heel of my right foot was hurting just as badly as the heel of my left. And whenever my mother stumbled, turned her ankle, stood still with her lips squeezed tight, it was hard for me to decide which foot I should put forward, which I should burden with the main weight of my body.

“Isn’t it beautiful here,” said my father.

“All right, all right,” murmured my mother.

“Stand up straight! Breathe deeply!” said my father to me. “Don’t hobble around like an old woman!”

At the edge of the second forest my mother sat down in her green suit on the green meadow, her back to the forest, her face to the sun. And while she pulled off her shoes I sat down next to her, and while I pulled off my shoes my father took the rucksack off his back and then sat down next to me.

We sat that way, in a row, our backs to the forest, our faces to the sun as it came through the gray clouds, and we ate and we drank what we had brought with us.