Fred Miller is a California writer. Over eighty of his storiesand poems have appeared in publications around theworld in the past ten years. Many may be found on hisblog: https://pookah1943.wordpress.com
The Lone Traveler
For the soul that’d been pierced to the quick with oceans of pain that cut deep into life’s very soul, he mourned. Cleave to forbearance, they warned. Show raw courage, not tears. Tis a primal lesson of survival, he was told. Chin Up, stiff lip, they brayed. Unhinged resolution led to temptations forbidden, a release of sorrows and strife, all cares and breath, a wrinkle of mercy aborning. Should he pause to ponder? Should he act? The odor of fear welled up in a shadow of looming regret, a singular path to be left behind. Yet evening portals cast an alluring glow ahead. A few precious moments with one loved, he longed to relive, a plea for a presence once more. A ray of hope in the midst of bewildered reality, he felt a blanket over dreams snuffed out. Should he roll and howl at the moon, sing a dirge, bend on knee anew, he wondered. ‘twas a trail ridden hard and true, they would say, a good run he’d had. Now with her, they’d be together for all time.
A mystic moon smiles down on wind-swept vistas now silent in deep drifts of snow. Majestic pines bow down in adoration to a sleigh that moves in peace save a horse in rhythm with the songs I hum of moments past with tots whose squeals once filled my heart with joy. With fading memories, I am left with narrow trails to trek, aware that dreams of those I miss dwell on eyes I’ve yet to see, eyes that may have gazed on noted vistas, a generation that remains a mystery to me. Bewildered by these changing times, a ray of hope remains: a plea for moments recalled of those precious days we shared. For me, my friend Hank remains to curl on folded quilts, his shiny nose amid his paws, and trusted Dobbin in his stall, and crackling fires that stir a warmth of goodness that once filled this house with love. From my window, stately firs arrayed in sequins remind me that all is not lost. Gentle rest awaits, a gentle rest ahead for us all.