Saturday, July 17, 2010

An Ode to Winter: It's Not the Only Chill

A Siren went off in the distance. We were all nervous, even the horse whose ears perked at the sound. Easy boy, we all whispered to him, trying to get the shakes out of our voices. The wind was starting to pick up and it was deathly cold. Even the gulls, it seemed, new better than to be out on a day like that. We waited, stamping our feet, for the man rowing the boat to get to shore where we could take his load. He was alone and we hastened to drop the gate on our wagon. As the last box of cartridges was loaded, we turned back to thank the man, only to find that he was already rowing back to his ship and crew. The salt burned our noses as we waved, although I doubt that he could see us in the fading light. Bone cold, tired, and hungry we decided now was our chance to get back.

My grandfather’s voice faded as I stared at the old photograph wondering what it would have been like to have been watched, photographed, and then fired upon. The heat wave of the bombs dropped the next morning was said to have burned shadows onto buildings. What would it have been like? My mind tried to come to terms with that of a WWI survivor and fell short. Removing my eyes from the picture, I looked at the dusty old film reel at the bottom of the box.

“Daddy, can we go home yet?” My daughter’s voice echoed to where I was at downstairs. Would she remember him?

“No, baby, Daddy has lots to do to help clean out Grandpa’s house. Do you want to come and see some pictures?” Her light footsteps treaded on the old wooden stairs.

“Are they pictures of Grandpa?” Her four year old voice told me that these pictures would hold more memories than his brief presence in her small life and I was struck with another wave of grief.

God be with you till we meet again.

1 comment:

  1. Vivid, evocative, and without a wasted word. Great stuff.