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The Roadmender ペーパーバック – 2021/10/23
Autumn is here and it is already late. He has painted the hedges russet and gold, scarlet and black, and a tangle of grey; now he has damp brown leaves in his hair and frost in his finger-tips.
It is a season of contrasts; at first all is stir and bustle, the ingathering of man and beast; barn and rickyard stand filled with golden treasure; at the farm the sound of threshing; in wood and copse the squirrels busied 'twixt tree and storehouse, while the ripe nuts fall with thud of thunder rain. When the harvesting is over, the fruit gathered, the last rick thatched, there comes a pause. Earth strips off her bright colours and shows a bare and furrowed face; the dead leaves fall gently and sadly through the calm, sweet air; grey mists drape the fields and hedges. The migratory birds have left, save a few late swallows; and as I sit at work in the soft, still rain, I can hear the blackbird's melancholy trill and the thin pipe of the redbreast's winter song—the air is full of the sound of farewell.
Forethought and preparation for the Future which shall be; farewell, because of the Future which may never be—for us; "Man, thou hast goods laid up for many years, and it is well; but, remember, this night thy soul may be required"; is the unvoiced lesson of autumn. There is growing up among us a great fear; it stares at us white, wide-eyed, from the faces of men and women alike—the fear of pain, mental and bodily pain. For the last twenty years we have waged war with suffering—a noble war when fought in the interest of the many, but fraught with great danger to each individual man. It is the fear which should not be, rather than the 'hope which is in us,' that leads men in these days to drape Death in a flowery mantle, to lay stress on the shortness of parting, the speedy reunion, to postpone their good-byes until the last moment, or avoid saying them altogether; and this fear is a poor, ignoble thing, unworthy of those who are as gods, knowing good and evil. We are still paying the price of that knowledge; suffering in both kinds is a substantial part of it, and brings its own healing. Let us pay like men, our face to the open heaven, neither whimpering like children in the dark, nor lulled to unnecessary oblivion by some lethal drug; for it is manly, not morbid, to dare to taste the pungent savour of pain, the lingering sadness of farewell which emphasises the aftermath of life; it should have its place in all our preparation as a part of our inheritance we dare not be without.
There is an old couple in our village who are past work. The married daughter has made shift to take her mother and the parish half-crown, but there is neither room nor food for the father, and he must go to N——. If husband and wife went together, they would be separated at the workhouse door. The parting had to come; it came yesterday. I saw them stumbling lamely down the road on their last journey together, walking side by side without touch or speech, seeing and heeding nothing but a blank future. As they passed me the old man said gruffly, "'Tis far eno'; better be gettin' back"; but the woman shook her head, and they breasted the hill together. At the top they paused, shook hands, and separated; one went on, the other turned back; and as the old woman limped blindly by I turned away, for there are sights a man dare not look upon. She passed; and I heard a child's shrill voice say, "I come to look for you, gran"; and I thanked God that there need be no utter loneliness in the world while it holds a little child.
Now it is my turn, and I must leave the wayside to serve in the sheepfolds during the winter months. It is scarcely a farewell, for my road is ubiquitous, eternal; there are green ways in Paradise and golden streets in the beautiful City of God. ...
- ASIN : B09K1YZPPF
- 出版社 : Independently published (2021/10/23)
- 発売日 : 2021/10/23
- 言語 : 英語
- ペーパーバック : 41ページ
- ISBN-13 : 979-8750808465
- 寸法 : 17.78 x 0.25 x 25.4 cm