The Walk

by Jordan

The bearded old man was on his normal morning walk once more, with his normal brown cloak, his normal muddy boots, his normal gnarled walking stick, and his normal tattered hat, but something was different. The sun rose slowly in the valley, sending rays of cool light through the forest, all seeking the other side, but few ever reaching it.

The old man was calm and peaceful, walking slowly to his destination, a small clearing in the center of the forest. His silence was a smiling, and serene one, but an air of sadness hung ever so lightly behind him. He came upon a small group of deer grazing on the side of the dirt path, but they seemed not to notice him, for they had become used to his morning walks, or maybe it was because they knew that today was different.

He looked up to see three small birds singing their morning songs to the sun, encouraging it to keep climbing into the sky.

As the old man passed between two twin trees that grew directly across the path from one another he reached out to feel their bark slide across his wrinkled fingers, taking in the feel of the contrast between rough and smooth. He turned left at a fork in the road, knowing every branch of the path from his years of walking.

The path became an uphill walk that posed a challenge for the old man, a challenge that he took graciously and fought to overcome.

When he finally reached the top of the hill he looked down the path to see where it opened up into the small clearing where he had sat many times before. He smiled as he stood there for but a moment longer before beginning down the other side of the hill. The light sadness that had hung behind him was now completely forgotten, left behind by the peace and serenity of his walk.

When the old man reached the opening to the clearing he stopped, both to take a breath and to watch a monarch butterfly cross the path in front of him. He entered the clearing slowly, his eyes fixed on the ancient stone bench that sat in the middle. He had reached his destination, where he would sit as he had done a thousand times before to watch the sun rise into the sky above him.

The bearded old man was on his normal morning walk once more, with his normal brown cloak, his normal muddy boots, his normal gnarled walking stick, and his normal tattered hat, but something was different, today was the day he would die.