The old general sat in his rocking chair looking out to the empty pasture. There was a time when he was important. He was needed. Now, he was just the old general. An old man who shakes so bad he spills his drink and food at every meal. An old man who prefers to live in the past rather than get involved with politics and causes he no longer understands. Mary left him long ago. Their children and grandchildren come by now and then, but never stay long. That was until last week when Susan brought a woman from the home to come visit. It’ll be better for you there, she said. You’ll meet new people there, she said. No one asked him. They decided for him. He promised Mary he wouldn’t make a scene if that time ever came and he intended to keep that promise. Susan and that woman would be back in the morning. He was an old, battered general who just wanted to have the life he once had.
As the sun set low in the amber sky, the old general heard a familiar whinny. He looked up and smiled. “You’ve come back to me, after all these years.”
With one last look at his house, the young general in a fresh, new uniform mounted his house and rode to his Mary, who was waiting for him under their promise tree.
The crisp fall winds blew through the town. People shivered and pulled their sweaters a little closer. The sun was out, but the temperature was dropping — fast. Confused looks met concerned looks. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Some hurried home to loved ones, while others sought refuge in their places of worship. Had he been right? Had the stranger been right? Had they doomed themselves? It couldn’t be. They did what needed to be done, didn’t they? They had to keep the others out, didn’t they? The others were a threat, weren’t they? They soon learned that they had been wrong. The town turned away their salvation. Those the stranger had said would have the knowledge and skills necessary to defeat the fall winds. They should have listened. They should have heeded the warnings. Now there is nothing to stop the fall winds. They had lost.
She watched the falling leaves with a graceful fascination. They clung on to their old life till the very end. They weathered sunshine and rain, wind and children. From the time they emerge in spring till the last day of autumn, they withstand the trials and tribulations of their life. Leaves do not want, they do not whine. Happy to receive whatever is provided to them. Never more, never less than what they need to see their lives through to the end.
As a child, she would sit on that very bench and look at the trees. Wishing everyday for autumn to arrive so she could run and jump through leaf piles. The last of many gifts they give through their life. Leaves never ask for gratitude or recognition. They never ask for awards or praise.
Now, as she sat and watched the last of the autumn leaves cling on to their old life, she wept. Both facing mortality; both in their twilight. They weathered the storms together, and now it was time to move on. Ninety-two generations to one of hers, but the end was just the same. Now she understood. She smiled and shuffled through the leaf pile one last time.
Welcome to the Daily Writing Challenge
Everyday at 6am CST, I will post one picture and three words that will hopefully provide you with some inspiration. What you produce is up to you. It can be a story, poem, art — anything everything goes. Just see where the muse takes you and take us along with you.
You do not need to use both the words and the picture. Use any part of the challenge that ignites your creativity.
Participating is simple: follow the muse, create a post, and either link back to this post as a pingback or post the link to your post in the comment section. * Please remember that pingbacks are approved manually.
Free, Gentle, Young
I feel like this needs a new tag. Any ideas? Let me know in the comments 🙂