Michael Middleton
on November 25, 2021
Suddenly Home
Though the sun has long departed, the December sky is bright and alive with myriads of distant fires and a moon nearly full. The air is crisp—bitingly so… From a barely perceivable filament of cloud above, tiny crystals drift lazily to earth—dancing flashes of radiance in the moonlight. All else is perfectly still. Silence shrouds the mountain, pierced only by the distant falls up Mortimer Canyon.
A man of many years stands serene, at peace in this lonely place. For decades he has known this land—the meadows and canyons and peaks—the aspen and pine and birch and willow. He has taken from the land only what was needed and knows that the time to return it all draws near. His spirit has never been more alive, but his body—well, the years have taken their toll. The veil of mortality wears thin.
For three seasons now he has heard them, the voices in the stillness of a warm afternoon or of a moonlit night such as this. Strange voices, yet somehow familiar—voices of kinship…men who have loved the land and lived by it. The Cherokee, the Kiowa, the failed gambler who found a better path… All who passed before him, though unseen, surround him now and bid him rest.
The old man draws in a deep breath and turns to toss another stick into the fire. “Time to rest,” he says, returning to the cozy little shelter where he has spent the past few nights. Banking the fire, he reclines, burying himself beneath a spreading of furs. As he begins to doze, a strange scent in the air catches his attention—the scent of sunshine falling upon summer pines. The air is suddenly quite warm and sweet with the fragrance of innumerable blossoms… He hears a rustling of leaves and the distant calling of crows and a hawk…and the chattering of a squirrel overhead. Suddenly aware that this is not a dream, the man—no longer old—opens his eyes. He is home.
Dimension: 1200 x 900
File Size: 120.3 Kb
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