Cane in hand, he sat in his old rocker on the front porch of his home.  The  railing was just a few feet from the crumbling pavement  and the river was just a few feet beyond the pavement.  Chokecherry bushes flanked the house and the deep red, overipe berries were abundant.  Where the sun found it’s way to the earth, goldenrod grew to waist high and crowded the narrow road with a cordon of gold.  Gray storm clouds churned in the summer sky and the rising breeze cooled the high summer afternoon. Ripples scattered the reflections of the stormy sky in the tea colored water of the Androscoggin.

The old codger rocked slowly.  He looked as old and tired as the peeling paint and curling clapboards.  Aged, bent and crooked, worn  out from a lifetime of hard work,  his tattered wool pants, suspenders and straw hat seemed as much apart of him as the deep ruts that lined his face.  He stared off  unfocused, into the distant mountains, perhaps into the distant past.   In the shadow of his sagging porch roof, beneath stately ancient elms he rocked  to the sound of mourning doves  and the wind swaying the trees.   Was he remembering  the hard work,  the merciless seasons, the  cruel vagaries of nature?  Was he thinking of all the loved ones that had already buried?    Was he basking in the satisfaction  of a difficult but full life and grateful for  his extended years?  Was he talking to his creator and preparing for his own imminent departure?

The early evening sun found a break through the dark clouds.  The old man and his porch  glowed with the rich saturated hues of  sunset.  The crickets, having been quieted by the threatening storm  once again took up their chirping.  The old man’s rocker was still, the cane slipped through his gnarled fingers and clattered on the sunbleached floor boards.  As twilight darkened the skies, the old man went home.

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