The old man ambles down the well-worn path towards the old barn, clutching a piece of paper in his fist. His mind is a jumble of thoughts and memories, like a ball of yarn, one thread turning over and over in upon itself, unable to tell where it begins and ends. He looks down at the paper. He smooths it out, against his thigh, folds it and tucks it into the bib pocket of his overalls.
He pauses, letting his eyes adjust to the darkness. Absently, his hand caresses the wood of the doorframe. He turns his eyes to the weathered planks of the structure. The red paint has long ago faded to a silver-grey. “It has stood witness, silently, to my life.” he reflects, then releases a derisive snort. “Don’t go gettin’ all philosophical, Travis.” he mutters “There ain’t no time for that.”
He steps inside, closes his eyes, and inhales deeply, breathing in the sweet familiar smell of hay and horse. With eyes still closed he listens to the dry rustling as Old Jack shifts anxiously in his stall. The horse nickers quietly. Travis opens his eyes and goes to him, cupping his muzzle. They look at each other eye-to-eye. He fondly strokes the silky mane. “I know, old boy. I know.” Travis whispers.
Turning away, he scans the barn, suddenly overwhelmed by the stillness of it. He watches the dust particles dancing in a sunbeam shining through the open loft and is struck by the contrast of light vs. dark.
He pats Old Jack firmly on the neck and strides towards a covered hulk lurking in the corner of the barn. Peeling back the tarp, he runs his hand across the fender, painted a legendary green, releasing an audible sigh.
Looking out the window to the field beyond, he is perplexed at the life springing forth. “I understand this……but I still don’t understand life.”
Stooping he picks up a rake and begins mucking the stall. “Like it or not, and I don’t, life does go on.”