This cold day, the second or third of autumn, was full of bright sunshine. Not enough to tempt me to swim. Not even enough to insist I take to the water in my canoe.
There was work to do. The front deck to clear of its summer furniture. A couple of sliding screen doors to bring inside. Fence the deck entrance to the gallery. And the balcony door toward the lake, of our blue room on the first floor.
All actually done, after slow moving ablations. But, accomplished just in time for a visit. From two brothers in their 70's. The former cowboy from Montana, a sometime telephone lineman, and his brother, our neighbor Seth. How they look like their grandfather whom I remember from my childhood.
They came to say good-bye, after their own so brief reunion. Their most vivid memory of their Ossipee youth, was mine as well. Climbing one day when they were middle teen-agers, New England's most treacherous trail - the Huntington Ravine, up Mount Washington. I would have been in my early 30's, taking these boys hand-over-hand, up a trail from which not everyone comes back.
A high-mountain adventure we all remember: they in their early 70's, I almost 90. All of us glad we don't have to try it again. A victory of youth, God-given.
They wanted our picture, to take back to Montana - this fleeting day of pristine blue, and gold, in autumn cold. They walked away, two bothers, cross-lots to the Stevens family home, to take the cowboy to Maine's major airport for Mark's flight home, to another, so different, life.
A little lunch, a little nap, then dress I must, for a last visit of summer, on the Ossipee road, at Maine's border, with my soul-friend, a poet and painter, leader in caring for this earth, the basin for river and water in the land of rising mountains.
My time to see her new building in the woods, where her own dream of fighting the fight for God's good earth is being given life, and flesh. A vision turning to reality. A time for telling of God. And of faith, so needed, for very life on earth.
A touching time for me, late-day, when I might otherwise have been on another river myself, in my canoe, plying quiet waters, so suddenly still as seasons change, and it is summer no more.
We continue to pack, preparing to leave the place I love, not really knowing if I will see it again.
We sit at table. Molly prays - so much to say, from our grateful hearts, while the whirling world beyond this forest home, announces its breathless headlines over the news.
We are grateful for food, for each other, for our family, for the work God gives us, for grandchildren we commend to His care. Then sit in silence at our hearthside after supper, thinking. Writing. Remembering this day of change, so late in our lives. So glad we are, for the remembering.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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