The sad man almost sounded relieved that neither museums nor churches offered any incentive or inspiration for him to find his lost thought. He filled his chest with a breath of the forest air and continued his story with a renewed sense of purose.
“I was very disappointed in everything and returned to my origins; the cabin.”
“The pretty blonde girl still lived nearby. She had put on a few pounds and was ruddy faced. I said hello to her a few times but she simply nodded and gathered her three children at her feet.”
“The librarian and school teacher both heard that I was living in the cabin. They watched every day to see if I would show up at the farmers’ market.”
“I had earned money by giving lectures on street corners in the large cities that I had visited. People liked to listen to me and comment on my straw hat, denim coveralls and bare feet. I was some type of attraction to them. I was never disappointed in the amount of money that they would put in my straw hat when I passed it around.”
“I had brought home a good supply of money but did not need to visit the market. I lived off the land and returned to a nearly sane condition.”
“One day, quite unexpectedly, the school teacher dropped by. She had a surprise for me. She told me that she and the librarian had put together a letter. The letter depicted my ability to easily learn new subjects. That was not a lie. I was quick at learning.”
“She had sent the letter to the state university and I had been invited to attend an orientation and financial assistance session. I went, I filled out the papers and I was accepted!”
“What a great moment for me. I had planned to re-familiarize myself with the way of the woods and streams but here I was going to college.”
“It was a bittersweet summer. I enjoyed the required remedial reading and math. It was almost as much fun as fishing and picking ginseng.”
The sad man, indeed, had found a new beginning. But his body language told me that he was not quite through with his story.