The canyoned, earthen-colored calluses of the man’s fingers began to trudge doggedly beneath each letter. They followed an eroded trench in the document that had been excavated through years of observing this daily ritual.
She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
A Maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love:
A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye!
--Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.
She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me!
Cracked lips mouthed the words in time with the progress of his fingers. The effort became laborious. His chest heaved as he grasped for breath so he might complete the trial. One last great gasp propelled him through the final stanza, the final line, and, ultimately, the final word.
His head reeled and his throat constricted. His lungs gulped for sustenance in the evasive mountain air, but found it as empty as a dry stream bed. Lips, full only moments before, became thread-thin lines. Long fingernails yellowed, curled, split, and fell to earth.
Preparing for the fit he knew was coming, he protectively clutched the journal to his chest. Even as he sprawled into the dust, one arm embraced it, while the other dangled over the precipice far above the valley floor.
Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: Spring Reading - Spring has definitely sprung in central Pennsylvania! Thanks to a changing climate, everything is blooming at the same moment: forsythia, tulips, forget-me...