Just another old man .
A story of endings or beginnings
Walking much slower now , though I wonder even now why ? , and making my way up the old two track path to the old log camp , I stop occasionally to gather my strength . I turn once and look back at the old truck I had parked across the trail so no one would come in here . The dappling golden sunset glinted across the old flat windshield and reflected on the bark of the big pine trees. My God ! The ravens are loud this evening , I watch as they drift high above the upper pine bows in and out of the warm thermals . Once in a while one of them lites in a tree above me and makes thet scratchy squawking sound that seems so loud and raucous . I feel an involuntary smile form on my tired old face and think way back to the days when I had first built this little hideaway .
Let's see , 40 years ago ,.......My god , has it been that long ? But yes , it seemed longer at times though . I stop in front of the cabin and look up , the door was latched although I never locked the door once , .........I always figured , what if someone really needed to get in and get worm and maybe would look into the old cabinets and find some canned food that I always left here . What if ? And once in a while someone had ! Oh yea , the teenagers went in once in a while and made a mess but , ......."Hell , that's what teens are for anyway ! Isn't it ? " ........I say to no one there , As I turn and sit down in one of the old rockers and take a deep painful breath .
The doctors had answered me what , two years ago ? , " John , I can't give you more than three or four months more to live , That growth has returned "! Hell !, I guess I fooled them all . I always figured a doctor don't know much at all about you at all , unless you tell them anyways . A chill begins to work it's way into my old wool hunting coat and my old brittle bones too . Just as a strong gust of wind comes lifting through the pines . The only sounds though are from the whitewater brook off the end of the porch and the ravens high overhead . I seem to recall that once I could hear alot better too . And yet ! As I watch the lifting pine branches above I think . There is an awesome beauty as well to the silence of movement in nature .........
I must have drifted off to sleep, ............because as I awaken , I realize that dusk has begun its nocturnal journey through the pine forest . The strong musky scent of pine pitch and the decaying pine needles below the massive tree trunks gives off a pleasant aroma . I reach back and pull the old wool blankets down and over the rocker and cover my shoulders as the pine sis-kens and a barred owl come alive , the chicka-dees and a blue jay flutter across the front of the porch roof . And , in the distance , I hear the low beginning howl of the wolf pack leader , "Ahh , you're still here my old friends "............. .
The cold begins to seep in as I reach into my jacket and pull out the shiny flask and as I take a deep swallow of the burning liquid fire , The pain in the side of my head subsides for awhile as I drift in and out of consciousness ,..............
I had decided before , that when the time comes close to dieing , I was going to die right here . That I would just sit here until the end ......hunger is no longer an issue for me , I haven't eaten much at all in days . there is only the pain , and pain is only a frame of mind now isn't it ! ......I awaken in the darkness and for a moment I don't quite know where I am , but as my thoughts come together I become aware of the grey ,pink skyline to the east where the sun will rise one more time . The cold air has snaked it's way into my blankets and a chill finds me shaking uncontrollably .
My thoughts become slow and clear , and as the sky begins to lighten , the brook nearby chortles away in a peaceful rhyme , I listen as the birds begin to welcome in the new day , for them at least . For me however , ..........my last . I pull the flask from my coat and drink the last of the liquid fire , ........yet I'm left with only a peaceful feeling as the fire inside lessons the aching in my head once again ..............My vision clouds as I try to focus on the trees overhead , yet in my mind I begin to drift in and out of visions of the past .......my wife , now gone too , my children off living in their own worlds . And those gone before me , I see faces of loved ones , some gone for years and images of old lovers too pass through as well.
Its getting closer , I can tell ...................And just as the warming sun turns the corner of the walls of the porch and strike my shoulders I begin to feel nothing at all in my body and I realize , this isn't so bad .............the sounds of nature have blended with these visions of pleasure , dreams and memories , in visions I see the perfect flesh of my younger lovers and the birthing of a son , .........the smile of my daughter's beauty and as the sun warms my back and shoulders like a women's hand on my cheek .........I feel a hand take my shoulder and whisper ..........' it's time to go now , sleep my child sleep "................