"One day I looked up and he's pushin' eighty
And there's brown tobacco stains all down his chin
Well to me he's one of the heroes of this country
So why's he dressed up like them old men."
~Guy Clark (Desperados Waiting for a Train)
His barns are all sagging now. They are growing old along side him. They have heaved and twisted, settling with age. They are full of treasures that he has collected and stored throughout the decades. His Maple tree is fringed with red and orange, even though it's just mid August. The year and the evening grow old as we sit in the grass under his big old Bull Pine tree. But his woodshed is full and with pleasure he looks in the door knowing that all of it will help to ward off the cold and the wind that will come a-callin' through his plaster walls and single pane windows. Like all the years that have gone on before he cut, split, and stacked his wood with care, but this year he went slowly, and sometimes not at all, 'cause he is tired.
His fingers, that worked and toiled all through these years are hard as leather, worn and weathered, but they have kept him alive; him and all those he supported through the years. The Good Lord knows these hands and the sacrifices they have made.He goes for daily walks now, so that he can see the world spin 'round one more day. One foot in front of the other he walks down roads he has traveled in various vehicles, he now knows them intimately. And he watches these roads change with the seasons. Walking and living ~ in the sleet and rain, when the sunshines, and when wet snow flakes fall ~ covering his wool shirt and white beard. What dreams, what thoughts, what discoveries do you make, Old Man, on these daily journeys that you partake?
His causeway, being a joy to him, has become a daily haven. He has watched it ice over, become solid, and then recede from the shoreline until it became again a living, moving flow of water.
Tears well up and he cries sometimes. He remembers the past and a few good friends. The heartache and the joy of living. But his bills are paid and he has a lovely wife.
He dreams still ~ wonderful and full of life. But sometimes now he dreams of Heaven and it doesn't seem so far away. He thinks of those he loved; waiting for him there and sometimes he feels he could reach forth his hand. Reaching for a Savior, a brother, a father and mother. But sometimes he loves life and all the beauty he finds here. And he cries.
From my aching heart to yours, Jen