Journey's End

This is the wire I climbed as a boy, forty and more summers ago, down through thickets of bracken and brambles to the edge of a sloping meadow, tall larch behind me, silver birch ahead. A secret place, there with my father instead of school, resting tired legs after a long walk, listening to tales of his childhood between the wars, the smoke from his cigarette drifting up into still blue sky. We would look out over the grass, sometimes with shaggy haired horses grazing, sometimes alone, out towards the iron rimmed copse, home to the dens, fights and friendships of his youth, running free from dry and dusty classrooms just as much as I was.

Yesterday I climbed the wire again, this time as a man. Everything was as it had always been and I was glad to see that the horses were there, descendants like myself I thought, and that felt right. My father died five years ago. My mother followed him last fall. So it was there I said goodbye to them both, scattering their ashes in that rural haven, many miles from the harsh world, a timeless place forever safe from change; back together, back to childhood, back to innocence and peace.