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Sunsets, mountains, solitude, a comfortable old rocking chair and a unique companionship.

He remembered vividly the first encounter with this magnificent animal. It had happened many years ago, when he first came to this high mountain meadow and began reconstruction of this old log cabin. With lots of work to do before winter settled in up here in the mountains, and it arrives early, the old man spent most of his daylight hours repairing the cabin and putting up his winter supplies.

He had just sat down to rest from felling a large tree when he heard the sound of snapping dried brush. Startled, he turned to face a large wolf, close enough to see the reflection in its eyes. Fear kept the old man sitting, watching. They stared at each other for several minutes before the wolf turned and slowly disappeared back into the thick forest from where he came. Unnerved, but with a sense of wonderment, the old man sat pondering what the hell that was all about. Something much more different had just happened than anything he had ever encountered before in his long life and he sat in awe.

Realizing he was wasting daylight, he returned to the task of limbing out the felled tree that would, in time, become part of his new home. The work was hard, but the work helped with the constant heaviness in his heart. He truly missed his wife. Their marriage was long and filled with all the positive things that a good marriage is supposed have. He missed the light-hearted conversations, the warmth of her body against his on cold winter nights, and all the little things that made her his wife. She was the kindest, most compassionate woman he had ever met, and her absence was an ever-present abstraction in life. One that brought a warm smile to his face and painful tears to his heart.

As he rested upon the stump, feeling the warm late summer breeze upon his face, his thoughts transported him back to a time many years ago. A time when his world was right. Good times, with many laughs and much closeness.  In time, he learned to accept the fact that she was gone and he treasured the quality of life they shared those last years and all those precious memories he held.

Loneliness adds beauty to life.  It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night  air smell better…Henry Rollins

Photos at Ryeder

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