On the far side of the road, he saw an industrial estate with huge commercial units. Green fields had been ripped apart in the pursuit of profit. His heart sank. Steve walked through the industrial estate and saw roads and car parks leading up to the enormous industrial buildings. He passed alongside the biggest of them all and the car park nearest the motorway toward the ever-present hum of traffic. He headed in the direction of the meadows beyond and grinned when he saw the old broken fence he remembered from years before. It was in the same dilapidated state. Steve jumped over with the skill of a boy attuned to the outdoors and ran downhill to the stream.
Walking beside the waters, memories of adventuring with Scotty came flooding back. Further ahead, Steve became more cautious as the farmhouse neared. This was always the danger area in the past, so instinct demanded he crouched down by a barbed wire fence and peered through the hedgerow. The trees on the other side were still there, but he could not see the farm. In a hunched walk, he neared the track and small bridge over the stream. As a boy, he was always on high alert here, and often crawled past to be safe. He looked up. Things had changed.
With a sigh, he stood and walked over the small concrete bridge and up the hill toward the farmhouse. But it had been demolished and Steve reached the crest of the hill to find the foundations of former farm buildings. It was like a graveyard etched into the green fields. The farm was no more. Progress came at a cost. He stood where the main farmhouse had been and looked back the way he had come. It was his first view from up there. The new industrial estate was visible like a stain on the landscape. He looked over to the right and saw the familiar forest, untouched. A smile spread across his face.
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