The sad man who had just finished his sobbing continued sitting on a log. I offered him a cigarette. We finished our smokes in silence. Finally he spoke.
“When I was a young man I loved the mountain streams and the woods. There was nothing more enjoyable than the solitude. Now don’t get me wrong. I was not a laggard. I enjoyed work also. Have you ever cut and split wood?”
Not waiting for my answer he continued.
“The streams and woods are great for refreshing your mind. But cutting and splitting wood is good for the soul. You are exhausted when you finish and there is a great sense of relief when it is done. Well – – – maybe it is not just relief – – – it is a feeling of relief and satisfaction that when combined – – – well, it just makes you feel good about yourself. Do you know what I am trying to say?”
Once again the question was rhetorical for he did not require an answer.
“Well, that was my life. Hunting, fishing, cutting wood and watching the wildlife. I didn’t require much more; even though I found it. What I found was a pretty blond girl that lived down the dirt road from me. She couldn’t have been more than sixteen. She was seven or eight years my junior. She seemed to enjoy watching me go into the woods or walk down the creek with my fishing pole. It was nice to have someone who cared about me. You see, I had been living alone since I was fourteen. Then one day this pretty blond girl finally spoke to me.”