"There was a time; there was day, when all things that ever will be were things hat have already been." So were the cryptic words of my Grandfather as he began the roundtable reading of the pages.
We read on the rockers and on the porch in the brightest part of the day. We read by the light of the fireplace in the latter hours of the night. The Padre read of vistas from the tops of towering pines and of the surprising sympathies shared by the raw, rugged brotherhood of northwoods lumberjacks. Miss Willow read of the season when she lived with a family of sparrows through the long winter that would not end and of the season when she lived among the Algonquins, searching for a homeland they could never find. Granddad read of surviving the Great War and the remembrance of those who did not survive, and of golden hours in the pre-dawn milking barn, when the newness of life felt like the morning dew upon his soul.
Their words were like a waterfall of life splashing into my soul; their stories like the recollection of eternity in the thankful memory of God. With the turning of each page, with the turning of each memory, it felt as if my soul were aging as if minutes were years and hours were lifetimes.
And as the fire in the fireplace settled into its maturity, the flames becoming more and more the glowing embers, the wood's crackling become more and more the warm sizzling, we ourselves slowly slip into the mellow of a nighttime, the second gloaming of the day , when no more needed to done or even desired to be done. The day had yielded more of life than there ever needed to be.
The last stories before we fell asleep in the savory scent of orange spice tea, were stories of when the Padre, Miss Willow, and Granddad, were young souls like me. And when they did, they somehow became more a part of me. Somehow.
I dreamt that night a thousand dreams, dreams that took their stories even further than their words did tell, making sense of all the many pieces, weaving all the many threads together into one cloth of understanding. I awoke the coming morning understanding that the Padre, Miss Willow, and my grandfather were old and ancient friends, intermingled souls, souls who somehow found a realm beyond the lifetimes of their days.
They were the Essence of the Old and I was the fresh life that was to breathe it in. They were the Essence of Time and I was the Greening of the Old Oak, the next ring in eternity.