There’s an older man that does some work for me now and then. He lives out on the edge of the county in a semi-rural area. The property was originally a farm that was handed down and parceled out over time. It exists now as a couple of acres on the crest of hill. A neat red brick ranch style house rests dead center.
One day, when I was sad, he asked what was wrong. We shared easily about our lives and it turned out we are both reformed sinners, so to speak. It was a misty eyed encounter with a couple of graying ex-rounders who had found some peace in life.
On a recent bright and sunny spring morning, no one came to the door when I knocked. I left a check in the windshield wiper of his small red Ranger pick- up truck.
As I stepped into my car I could hear a whippoorwill as the hill top wind blew through my hair. One foot in the car, I stopped. Dogwoods in early bloom splashed the green grass landscape with their creaminess. An old oak like “Father Time” stood watch over the pastoral scene. From a low hanging branch hung a paintless wooden bench swing. It was not a lonely swing though empty in that moment.
I know that he and his wife come often to gaze out across the land … together. He had told me how he adored her; how she had stood by him in the rough places.
The chains on the bench swing are contrastingly new like “tended to” memories. A patch of fresh tilled earth lay deep brown, a miniature runway waiting for the measured labor that will bring seeds to flight as they reach skyward in rebirth.
A white wooden fence surrounds the gray faded shed where he works. I have visited there and know that the tools are lined up like troops ready for battle. The dirt and sawdust floor is raked and swept.
Everywhere careful plantings awaken to the season. When he was a boy, his Grandfather told him this was the highest point of altitude in the county. It strikes me that some places in this world are higher in more ways than one.