Ladies Brae

We skip and scrabble over the rocks that pile up in the bend of the river. My younger brother leads the way. He finds all the best footholds and manages to stick his landings, pivot, and leap to the next rock in a fluid motion. I follow his path. My feet often find wet slippery moss. When we reach the top we turn and wave proudly to our parents. Mum waves back. Behind her, dad is pulling snacks and drinks from the cool-box and arranging them on the picnic table. Ahead of us the river twists again to follow a line of dark pine trees. Shadows between the trunks seem to stretch out and slide over the water, turning it dull grey like a slab of slate. Dad shouts at us. The picnic table is set. We pick a couple of yellow flowers from the gorse bushes along the bank and drop them in the water. They disappear instantly down the labyrinth of miniature waterfalls between the rocks. We head back to the picnic area, my brother in the lead again.