Feet slipping over the rocks and mud, Rose picked her way down the hill. Her head was bent against a vicious wind that whipped her skirts against her legs and stung her face. She withdrew even deeper into her rough cloak and a shiver passed through her. Pausing, she glanced up at the pale sky.
"How long?" she wondered "How long until spring finds us?" Placing the wooden pails on the ground, she rubbed her hands together, then picked them up again and, once again, slid downward toward the fort wall at the edge of the water.
Reaching the well, she joined other women filling their buckets with fresh water. Few of them spoke. It had been a long winter. Unkind, even brutal. The fact that the cold continued now even into May taxed even the most patient of them. Not wishing to complain, they said little. They all knew that they were tired of fish. They were tired of ground meal cakes that had no flavor. Most of all, they were tired of the constant cold, and the incessant wind. They wished for warm breezes. They wished for things, green and growing. Too often, unbidden, their thoughts turned to the tulip fields and meadows of daffodils at home.
"Not home." Rose reminded herself, firmly. She hoisted the filled buckets and steadied her footing as she turned her back toward the wind. England would never be home again. This was her home--the place she had chosen. She had agreed to come with her Myles. She had promised herself that she would never look back. It shamed her to admit that there were times when she let her fingers dip into the frigid waters of the Atlantic, just to touch the same ocean that touched the shores of her native land. This was something she told no one.
With the wind at her back and the weight of the filled buckets to steady her, the climb back up the hill was easier than the way down. "Let the wind carry me home" she thought, and then smiled to herself.