Thursday, July 25, 2013

A distant memory

We sat by the hearth, a warm and inviting fire crackling before us. It was obvious this was their custom after the evening meal. Their conversation began as they seated themselves, nearly forgetting I was present. It was their habit, their ritual. It was here they recounted their day, hers at home within and his work in the fields. My mind began to wander until Clarisa's voice brought me back.

"And what brings you to our parts, Mr. Clancy?" Her smile was as warm and inviting as the fire. Her face beamed with every word.

"I am simply exploring."

"An adventure, I believe you called it," Reenie replied.

"Of sorts, I suppose." I leaned back into my chair and stared into the fire. "I have been a homebody, I suppose, most of my life."

"Well, there's something to be said for that," she answered."

"I live in the upper valley beyond these mountains." I smiled as I replied. I was hoping not to offend her, but a homebody's life was not fulfilling. "I have been there all my life. I am content within it's confines."

"I sense that is not enough for you." She reached out her hand laying it on my arm. I reveled at her touch.

"Adventure is for young 'ins." Reenie stared into the fire and began to rock slowly in his chair, its curved rockers finding their well-worn place upon the floor. "A fella's measure is the work he gets done; the family he keeps."

"That is something I have done near my whole life, sir. It is simply time for me to find another path." Clarisa withdrew her hand and looked to her husband.

"That was not always the case with you, my love. There was a time you looked beyond the fields and wondered what was over the next rise."

"Aye, a long time ago in a boys life." His voice seemed reticent, his mind searching for memories from a time long ago; a time lost. "I suppose it is part of who I am."

"A part I fell in love with, Reenie." I watched as her hand now caressed his arm. They were as one, from now till forever.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A cozy fire

As our dinner ends I lean back into my chair and sigh, my hands coming to rest on my full belly. My feeling of uneasiness subsides as my hosts begin the business of clearing the table. A pleasant smile and a subtle hand keep me in my place. I am a guest, and my help in their chore will not be accepted. The work now finished, I am directed to the hearth where a crackling fire ebbs low within its confines.

"Please join us, Mr. Clancy. It is our custom after our meal to sit by the fire and chat about our day."

"Oh, I would most surely love such company," I offer. "I hope I am not intruding. I am an outsider to these lands."

"Nonsense," Reenie replies. "You look a stout fellow. A bit peculiar, I reckin', but you're not from these parts."

We take our seats, my hosts moving to two chairs that I firmly believe have not moved from their spots in many a year. My eyes follow her form as I note the grace with which she moves about the cabin. It is not something I would expect from one who lives in virtual seclusion, a life in the middle of nowhere. Clarisa takes her seat between us as I pull my dinner chair toward the hearth.

"I am sorry I have not the proper chair for you, Mr. Clancy."

"Think nothing of it. I am grateful for the kindness you have shown me this evening."

"Not something I routinely do for trespassers, you understand."

"Now Reenie." Her look was mirthful, a wrinkle embracing her lips as she looked at her husband. "It is not often we receive visitors in our home. We are used to ourselves and our ways, alone."

"I again thank you for your hospitality. I am on a journey and a warm fire and a hearty meal is most welcome."

"You said you are on an adventure. Why would one want adventure?"

"Now Reenie. You of all people should remember adventure. If you lived the life in your youth you live now, you would never have met me."

"Is that so?" I lean forward and stare past Clarisa at my other host. "It would seem that adventure is not only in my soul?"

"Aye, I've had an adventure or two in my time, Clancy. But those are days long gone, and are now but memories."

I pull my chair in closer to the fire as its warmth bathes me. It is the first true warmth I have felt in some time. Yet it is more than that. It is the warmth of home and hearth that I now find I miss upon the road I have begun to travel. One sees only the horizon and not the safety of home. Yet, it is the safety of home that is often a prison to the spirit.

They have extended an invitation to me now and a warm bed sounds most inviting. We settle in for an evening of conversation as a light rain pelts the thatch upon the roof. The work and travel are now done for the day.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A taste of home

I look again about the cozy cabin as supper is placed before me, which has such an intoxicating aroma that it tickles my nose. I immediately sense the tingling of spices of which I have no memory. The smells intrigue me, though I know I must wait my turn. I would be an impolite guest to lift my fork before my host, though the scents are nearly overwhelming. Upon Clarisa's return, she seats herself and gestures towards my plate.

"Do not wait on us, Mr. Clancy."

Her smile again taps a corner within my heart I had not known before. I return her look with a polite smile and a nod, my fork stabbing at the offering. Within seconds my tongue explodes with sensations I could only dream of. The sliver of meat caresses my mouth, its own skin tender. I know the texture well but the flavor eludes me. I slice a wedge from the salad as the oils clinging to the fork begin to slide away. Again, nothing I have ever eaten has given me this experience. It is evident to my hosts as my eyes light with each taste.

"I hope you are satisfied with our small supper, Mr. Clancy."

"Oh my yes," I reply. "Sir, I have never tasted anything quite like this before."

"Not of my doin', Clancy," he replies as  his own fork stabs at the plate. "Clarisa is near the finest cook I have ever come across in all my years."

"Now Reenie, you'll make me blush."

Her words were true as a light flesh of color quickly arrived upon her round cheeks.She stretches her arm across the small table, laying her hand on his. Her touch brought a smile to his lips. It is obvious they are as much in love as any I have ever seen. Everything they do, they do for each other. Perhaps it is necessary out here in such a lonely place in the world. Perhaps it is something more, something I have not known in my life.

For a moment, I again feel as an intruder into their world as a sudden lack of companionship becomes obvious, at least on my part. I turn my eyes back to my supper as an empty place makes its presence known within my heart.

I feel suddenly alone in life.