Faded are July’s warmth, summer’s cheers. Supplanted now by the encroaching hints of cooler days, forgotten expectations, procrastinated chores shelved, he can only now muse without dwelling on what won’t be. Could-have-beens and maybes aren’t statistically meaningful; they never really were, except to others in relation to their expectations and dreams for him. Regret is not something that taints him. He does not feel a talent wasted. He recalls every crucial moment as it was, for what it was.
Unburdened by excuses, unwilling to pass blame. A trait truly a gift not wasted.
It was what it was and is, he did what he had done, and it has all come down to this: seasons of joy, of youth, of expectations – have dwindled, and he savors their uncertainty of numbers. Youth cannot serve that master. He revels in coming autumn and finds it no burden as winter creeps in to bury and renew. Spring will be welcome, but no more or less than its brethren.
Memories are not subsistence. This he knows for fact. Cheers he once accepted have faded. Others have taken his place on stage. As many have forgotten him as remember him. The field of honor which he once ruled by force and triumphant jousting he now benevolently presides over. The thought occurs that maybe his soul is the autumn grass; wearily vibrant, going dormant. In need of a respite. The patriarch emeritus smiles in triumph.
Zipping up his coat, its collar turned upward against the gathering winds of fall, he leans into the breeze, stiffening his resolve. The air is quiet, save the wind, and he is at peace with the simple knowledge that spring will, someday, sometime, for whatever reason, return. But for now, time is in his comfortable grasp, for he now understands its tenuous and uncontrollable nature; he can tuck it safely away like a pocket watch in vest pocket, and stroll through the lovely, dark and deep woods without fear of reprisal from promises not kept.
– Mark Lucker