There was a path in the woods he used to walk on everyday. Past pines and oaks, hickory and dogwoods, the old man would follow the beaten earth throughout the course of the year. Throughout his life.
In spring, when all was a bloom, his long legs would carry him. An old tree limb was his walking stick. His right hand was raw from holding on so tight. He would stop and look around at the forest from time to time. Remembering springs of his childhood. The old man and his childhood friends would play among the green leaves and wildflowers. Singing out songs, laughing at jokes.
The summer would bring heat to this small Southern town. And, as a teen he still walked through the woods until he came to a cold watering hole. Many a times he would strip down to nothing and lay in the clear water. He even took girlfriends back to the spring for a dip and a kiss upon the lips.
But, it was fall that gave him hope. As an older man watching the colors change, he felt anything was possible. He’d sit on a tree stump and reflect about mistakes, missed opportunities, relationships that never evolved. The old man was alone in the woods. Perhaps he always wanted it that way.
And in winter he tracked through the snow. Bare branches over head. The celebration of Christ over. These were the lonely days of January and February. This was the hardest part of the year for the old man. Yet, he kept walking. Looking for salvation. Wanting the leaves to be green again.