The Mortal Woods


The Mortal Woods

   As sunset approached, I wandered the woods accompanied by my wife and our doodle dog, Dizzy. Light penetrated the summer leaves as I mediated on the beauty of God. At the bottom of the sheer rock ridge, the river murmured the secrets of a thousand years passed. 

 The only sounds were nature sounds. Dizzy investigated every root and rotted tree stump while we waited for the right moment to speak. Delicately, the illumination cast shadows such that one could imagine a scene from a maters’s canvas. We existed in solitude and freely breathed life.

   Then the quiet spirit was broken with my wife’s words.

  “Your birthday is coming up,” She said.

   “Yep, going to be forty-four,” I reluctantly replied.

   “Well, how do you feel.”

   “Please don’t ask me how I feel. I feel fine. Cant we just walk and enjoy the sunset.”


    I fell back into meditation. Strips of pink light decorated the horizon’s sky. With reverence we hiked a short distance more and found a bench. It faced west and without speaking we sat. My wife poured water into her cupped hand and offered it to the dog. The little poodle drank with untamed appetite. 

   Then being considerate of my reflective state, they settled in to enjoy the setting sun. We were content, but the mood compelled me to speak.

   “Forty-four thats pretty old.”

   “Oh, not really darling. Not for our time. Your grandma lived to be ninety-nine and mine is ninety. So…” There was long pause and I reclaimed my introspection. I wanted to more deeply appreciate the moment, and I felt the uncertainty of failing wisdom. It was OK though. I would always fall short.

   “Honestly, I feel like I’ve lived long enough.”
   “Don’t say that, darling. You still have many years ahead of you.” Panting and needing a rest, Dizzy laid down between our feet. “I need you. We both need you. You do a good job taking caring of us.”

   “I know,” I said. “It isn’t my time, but if it were I would be fine with it.”

   “Hmm.” The sun teetered on the edge of the world. An orange brilliance returned to us.

  “You asked me how I feel. Well, I feel like I am OK with dying,”

   “OK darling,” my love answered with assurance. “I am glad you’re OK.”

   We didn’t stay long. In the after glow of dusk we made our way to the car. Darkness found us as we drove back through the park. With half shut eyes, Dizzy snuggled on my wife’s lap, and we carefully held our peace.


written by: Brett Wiley


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