Friday, December 4, 2009

The Sled

It hung in the corner of the barn all covered with dust and cobwebs. Boards were broken and held together with wire. The knot tied to it was knotted by my father's hands.

Dad and I walked through the barn. Remembering other days and learning new stories. We stepped into the milk stable. "That's my old sled," he said pointing to the greyed sled hanging in the corner. "I got it for Christmas." He shared stories of the Loxley boys sledding trying out the new sled, the same sled we children rode down the hill at home. It now stands in the corner of my living room.

Following is a piece I wrote in memory of that day with my father in the barn.

The Sled

It was my father’s sled. There. There in the corner. Ages old and weather worn now a remnant of the past, a remnant of my father.

Too soon the earth captures her own holding to her bosom the babe who played in her leaves, who fished in her ponds, who loved her earth, who fed and nourished the very soil of her cloak, who saw his own returned to her loving arms.

Death, you are a blackness that comes quickly when least expected, silently, hidden until the final assault. Your vengeance is cruel, your methods immoral. Yet you will not leave your throne until all have tasted your sword. Your shadow encompasses all who pass too closely. You, the victor over all who taste your wrath.

But you cannot take away. You cannot erase the moments, the memories of the mortal soul. Listen. Hear the laughter of a small boy running to meet the first winter snow, running to try his new sled sitting on golden planks atop freshly waxed runners. His face is red, so bundled he can hardly run. Yet he laughs dashing to try his new Red Flyer. Listen. No darkness. Only memory.

In the corner sits that once new toy. Now the runners rusted, the lumber grey. Here and there broken pieces held together with wire and dowel. Each scar a memory of a young boy’s adventures. A fairly new rope knotted by old, gnarled hands readied the craft for another pair of small hands. A small child eager to meet the first snow.

It is a fine, old sled that once, when new, held a fine young boy.

No comments: