The maple woods began to thin, allowing the moonlight a chance to flood the empty pastures where the grey robed monks used to keep their Brown Swiss milk cows. The dairy cows were gone and the clanking of their bells; the holy brothers were gone and the chanting of their songs. Now there were only empty fields of virgin snow and black-tarred barns, half gone. And ... and three maples leaning together at the near corner of the stone fences.
The path we were following came to its first crossroads just beyond those three trees, a far wider path, some might call it a road. I was sensing that Grandfather would be changing our course when we reached those trees. At first, I was wrong. He stopped us at first, I believe for him to remember; then I was right, we changed our course.
Something asked me to glance back at those three trees and when I did, those three trees looked back at me and when they did I felt the words within me, "Be of good courage, young novice, you have made the fateful turn."
"Grandfather, is there a name for this road we now travel?"
I waited for a few more steps before he went with the answer to my unspoken question, "The Greyfriars used to call it, "The Saints' Last Walk."
"Why would they call it such a name?"
"It leads to the last holy ground for the Greyfriars."
Still not understanding, i kept on. "What do you mean, the last holy ground?"
With an obvious reluctance, he answered without looking over to me, "It leads to St. Anselm's Cemetery, where the worn out monks were laid to rest. They use to slowly process down this path, remembering the life of the brother who had died, each step a memory was praised and a word was prayed, so that the memory of the monk could remembered forever. Now no one walks this path for such reason any more, it is now no more than the memories of the maples.
I looked back at the three maples stationed at the turn in the path from the abbey on to the road to Saint Anselm's. And they looked liked three monks watching a century of old saints, going home.