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Today’s question burning into my soul is, what is hard?

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Was it hard to have my only day off be blustery torrential rains, and so cold that we lit a fire in the fireplace at the end of June? I hunkered down and did the things I had put off in favor of being outside; laundry, housework and writing.

Is it hard to sit at the breakfast table with someone you have adored for 30 years and watch them die before you daily? Or is it hard to be the one dying and know the pain of leaving?

My week began with my visit to them. They were bantering merrily, those little endearments and scabs that get picked after so many years together. He turned to tell me of a very dramatic dream. As with all dreams, it was loosely based on something in reality, but the thread was frayed and the imagery was comical. The three of us sat as she finished her toast, unraveling what five types of organic orange juice and the CEO of a local grocery store could possibly represent in life terms.

The sun was warming our damp corner of the world so a walk was in order. I set up the chair outside and helped him with a coat and his cap. It’s a slow walk down the wide granite steps and we use that time to comment on the new blooms in her glorious gardens, the state of the chickens in their enlarged yard and the trees he would like to remove to clear more pasture. Once settled I did a jig before him that I hoped looked like the Scare Crow in the Wizard of Oz. “Which way sir?”

He settled his cap, looked to the left, and replied, “I want to see my goats.”

It isn’t far. I’m no judge of distance but I would say less than a quarter-mile up the road through the farm. Parts of the driveway are paved, parts are gravel and potholes. We meander as I try to find the smoothest path. The peach trees are laden with young fruit. Flowers encircle the outbuilding and cottages. When we reach the top of the gravely hill, I am slightly winded but squat next to the chair hopping he won’t notice. There are no goats today. We looked out over the valley to the sheep in the orchard on the opposite hill; Red-winged Black birds and Swallows swooped and dive into the grasses along the brook between.

“That was hard to get up here. Thank you.” he whispered.

“Nothing about being with you is ever hard.” I replied.

Is it hard to let the rhythm of life take over and just go with the flow of it? Is it hard to find warmth in the embers?

10 comments on “What is Hard?

  1. Touring NH says:

    The hardest things in life can bring the greatest pain, but often can lead to the greatest joy.

    1. Well said Laura! Thanks.

  2. cheryl622014 says:

    Yes growing old gracefully is a real gift

    1. It is a lesson in humility and humanity, Cheryl. Thank you!

  3. I think life is as hard (or as easy) as we choose to make it. Many times we create our own problems or let others create them for us.

    1. So true, Allen as to letting others create problems for us. Thank you!

  4. This is such a lovely piece. It took my breath away. I would have wanted to see the goats too, and been grateful for the effort — and love.

    1. Thank you triciatierney!

  5. Marie Keates says:

    It must be hard for her to watch him deteriorate and for him to know he has to leave her. I’m sure your visits make it a little easier though. What it pity he didn’t see the goats, they’re such comical creatures.

    1. Yes Marie, goats are funny creatures and I was sorry we couldn’t find them. Next time…

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