I was walking down the narrow path overgrown with weeds, wrestling with a basket of food. This long, meandering trip is the only solace I get from the usual storm of stress. It’s difficult taking care of your family when they can no longer care for themselves; it’s difficult watching family age and die off when there is so little to begin with.
I see the willow tree in the distance, the same tree I used to sit beneath as a child wondering why it was constantly weeping though it had no reason to. It didn’t live in the unforgiving world that man does. But, there it sits, weeping and whimpering and longing just like man. Doesn’t it know that it’s etched into an immortal plant safe from us? I wish that I could stop there today, curled into its knotted shoulder so we could cry together… But, what adult has time for that? What adult has time to feel?
There was a slight turn in the road toward a rather large river. If you followed the river, it emptied into a large lake with water calm as silk, calm enough to learn to skip smooth stones that blanketed the banks. There wasn’t much time to skip stones, to gaze pensively into the liquid mirror. I sadly climbed the bowed bridge and ran my hand along the splintered banister.
Almost there, I thought as I decended the other side. She’s so far out of my way… But, this is what you do for family.
The path snakes right, then left, and right again through a valley of sunflowers and into the dense woods that form an arch around any wanderer, protecting them and their secrets. No matter how hot and bright the sun rages, nothing can penetrate these woods.
And it hits me, as it always does at this point in my trek, how fragile and sickly she’s gotten the past few months. She’s not herself, just a shell, an encasement, that’s housing a virus that won’t leave. Death happens to us all. It’s quick and merciful. I don’t understand how she can go on fighting. Why would she want to? No pain, no struggling, and she could reclaim herself from the void clutching her from inside. If I were her… I’m not sure I would…
And me “helping” her by stringing her along, tethering her to a painful world. For what reason?
The bark of a wolf jolted me out of my thoughts.