From the beginning of spring to the end of fall, Jonathan woke before the sun rose and worked his farm, rain or shine, six days a week. He stopped only to eat his lunch under an ancient oak tree. The tree, at the tallest point of his farm, provided an unobstructed view for miles. He loved looking down at the slow-moving river as it snaked into his land, ran alongside the barn and down into the valley below.
“When I have my time off, I will bring a hammock up here, relax with a good book and do nothing all day” Jonathan said to himself one day as he finished his lunch and headed back to his tractor to continue his work until sunset.
That Sunday he woke with a sparkle in his eye as he thought about stringing his hammock under the tree at the top of the hill, but the light from his eye quickly vanished when he looked out of his bedroom window and saw only the dark gray clouds obscuring the sun and lashing rain to the ground.
Lowering his head, he sighed and felt his shoulders slump from the weight of his disappointment.
“There is always next Sunday.” He muttered as he tried to console himself that the crops needed the rain.
The next day, at lunchtime, he made his way up the hill to the old oak tree, and sat on the ground with his back pressed against the enormous trunk. He looked out at all he could see and swore he would come back on Sunday and relax and enjoy the peace.
That Sunday, it rained again. The following Sunday, he went to a wedding. The Sunday after that he had to go to a Christening. And so it continued until fall and harvest time came. He told himself that it was the rain, events and life prevented him from keeping that promise to himself.
The icy grip of winter cast its shadow over the land and it would not allow him his wish to go to the top of that hill and enjoy the view and relax. He looked out of his kitchen window, up at the old oak, tears in his eyes as he sipped on his coffee and ran his fingers over the pages of the unopened novel he purchased to read under the oak. He promised himself he would do it next year as he put the book down next to his bed.
Spring emerged, the trees leaved, flowers blossomed, and it was time to plant this year’s crop. Every day, he made his journey to the old oak, ate his lunch, promised himself that he would come back on Sunday, and left. And again every Sunday, the weather, illness, life, would prevent him from taking his book and hammock to the top of the hill to enjoy the silence, the beauty and the peace that laying under that tree would give him.
For thirty years Jonathan worked the land, and for thirty years he made that promise to get up to the old oak on a Sunday, but it never happened.
One day, Jonathan never woke up to tend to his farm, or make his daily lunch trip, or make his silent promise to himself to make it back on a Sunday to enjoy the view, the beauty from the old oak.
His wife, who would watch as he made his daily trek to the top of the hill, knew nothing of his silent promise to return on a Sunday. She buried her husband, the dedicated farmer under the tree at the top of the hill, had a marble headstone made and placed at his grave which read:
Here lies a man
Who knew the value of a hard day’s work
But still took the time every day to sit under this tree
Relax and enjoy the beauty of life around him
May we all learn as he showed
To live in and appreciate the now
And not live with regret for the future
©️2021 Tate Basildon. All rights reserved
This post is part of the Blogging A to Z April Challenge.