The mist thickened, whitened, took on the fresh fragrance of a time far closer to the Creation that I had ever known. And out of that deepening mist, the oak tree's voice went on, "Do you remember the cold winter, old man, when the river seemed forever frozen?"
"Yes, I remember," my Granddad answered, at first with a hint of a fond recollection that then faded into an anxious worry as if he were reluctant to go. "Yes, I remember the cold."
"The cold", as if he were talking of an historic moment - no, more as if he were talking of an entity, a someone, a sinister someone.
"Granddad, was there something different about that winter? Was it long ago?
"It was long ago, ... and maybe ... that it is why the old man speaks of it so ... it was ... it was ... before you were among us. And in a certain sense I am not sre you or I will ever fully understand ... before I was here among us or even this old man in the tree.
"How can this be, Grandad?"
"Because all that ever was still lingers," my grandfather began to answer, but then the oak tree's voice took over, "...for that is where all moments are created, there in of the lingering past."
After a time for wondering, "And the winter was very cold?" I asked, returning to the unshared memory.
"Yes, it was very cold, very cold, that winter when we wandered off, when we old ones got lost in the younger world.