While I can’t vouch for the truthfulness of this story, I’m relating it here as told by my nephew Jonathan. He insists to this day it really happened.
It was June of 2002. The preceding month had been very rough on Jonathan. He had gone through more pain than he thought he could handle. His parents had recently divorced, and his older brother had run away, leaving him completely alone. It was hard to deal with the changes. He felt as if there was an emptiness, avoid that could not be filled the matter what he tried to do. In his despair, he opened up the last gift that his father gave him before moving out of the house. It was a late birthday gift. It was a brand-new outdoor watch, actually one of the best outdoor watches to be bought at the time.
Even though Jonathan had never been in the woods before, he felt he needed to go. Into small town, trees were just a five minute walk away. Before all of this, he seldom spent very much time outside of his room, always playing video games. However, the memories in that house were just too much. He needed to get away. Grabbing his backpack, tossing in water bottles and a couple sandwiches, he decided to make a day of this walk in the woods. He didn’t know when he was coming back, only that he needed to go, and for some reason he felt something or someone was waiting.
A few miles into the forest he heard what sounded like an owl, but he couldn’t see any birds in the distance. It was late afternoon, and the sun was slowly setting through the trees. There was little snow on the ground, despite being just a few weeks into January. He knew he only had a little bit of light left and needed to head back. The hoot of the owl was distinct this time, calling at him, beckoning him to follow. Despite his best intentions, and race against the receding daylight, he headed deeper into the woods.
Several minutes in, he found a cave, embedded in the side of the mountain. For some reason, there was a fire inside. Around the fire were people, and they turned to look at him, with nothing but kindness in their eyes. Looking at his outdoor watch, he knew his time is short, and he gave a nod and a shy wave. It was then that one of the girls stood up from the fire, walked toward him, and stood just a few feet away. She said, “They love you. Always remember that.” and then walked into the woods. He looked back into the cave, but now there was nothing there. Turning quickly, he could not find the little girl who had just spoken to him moments before. Another hoot of an owl called in the direction of his home, and he headed back as fast as he could. Jonathan never forgot that day, and even though it was probably not real, it was exactly what he needed to hear. It was an illusion that would stay with him the rest of his life. Although the outdoor watch probably had nothing to do with this adventure, whenever he wears this watch that his father gave him, he remembers that even in the darkest of times, there are always people that love you.