by Winnie Kay
The approach of Fall brings a message of eternal love.
| The crispness in the air stirs the memory of him. This is his favorite season. The subtle changes in the colors of the leaves herald the beginning of their departure from the branches which have held and sustained them since spring. |
A tattered and worn file is brought forth from the dusty vaults of my mind. I close my eyes as I rock on the porch of the cabin, and his familiar large frame appears. His loving eyes of emerald-green look into my soul, and my heart aches. Images cause the corners of my lips to rise: the thick curls of his tousled gray hair, the tilt of his head, his playful smile.
The smell from the surrounding woods is poignantly earthy. His presence is felt in the twilight breeze. His voice drifts in across the valley and settles in the still rocker next to me.
“Hunting season’s right around the corner, Wilma.” His quiet, deep voice lulls me into a peaceful trance.
“I know, Thomas. I know.”
“I saw some tracks this morning up on the east ridge. From the size and the depth, looked like a buck. Might be that ten-pointer. You know—the one I’ve been trying to sight for years.”
“Oh my, yes. I remember. We first saw him in ‘97. We were strolling through the woods between here and the deer stand, and we heard the rustling in the brush.”
“Hah! You thought it was a skunk and started to run. I grabbed your arm, and put my finger to my lips to hush you up. I knew it was too big to be a skunk.”
“I had on that new sweater you’d bought me from town. It was nippy that day, and the sun was just setting over the western valley. You made me stand real still. I watched your face, and I could see the twilight shining in your eyes. Then he bounded out of the tree-line along the creek. Remember, Thomas?”
“I’ll never forget. He stood there in the clearing not thirty feet away from us. As he jerked his head to the left, I saw the muscles ripple in his neck. I’d have given my eye-teeth to have had the rifle with me that day.”
“Even if you had the rifle, you wouldn’t have shot… not with me there.”
“No, kid, I wouldn’t have. I know how you are with critters, but you don’t mind the venison steaks and sausage that come from my expert marksmanship.”
“Oh, Thomas, you’re so full of it.”
His laughter rings in my ears, and the sensation of his calloused hand upon mine makes my heart soar.
“Look, Wilma. The hummingbirds are back. How come you didn’t put the feeders out, yet?”
“I just haven’t felt like it, Thomas.”
“You okay, Wilma?”
“I’m alright, Thomas. I’m getting by. It’s awfully quiet sometimes, though.”
“Hey, kid… didn’t I promise you I’d never leave you?”
“You did… but it’s just not the same, Thomas.”
“I’m still here, Wilma. Just reach out and call my name. I‘m here.”
“The years flew by too quickly. I want more. I want eternity.”
“We have eternity, my dear. Our love can’t die. Don’t you know that?”
I sit in silence, savoring these treasured moments with him. His visits sustain me, for a time. I open my eyes and look at the golden horizon over the valley. The crickets sing their nightly serenade. The wind picks up, rustling the trees, and the empty rocker next to me sways.
“We had some good times, didn’t we, Thomas?”
From the corner of my eye, I sense movement and turn my attention to the east. Spotlighted in the soft glow of the rising moon stands a stately ten-pointer watching me from the top of the ridge.