The Lilies are for His Children ©

Going into the winter months was always worrisome. It was nothing to brood about or to torment oneself over, but now that the snow had come, the old man understood it was to stay for a long while, and it was both worrisome and unwelcome.

The man was ready for the frozen weather ahead. He had pitched enough wood against the back of the house to last until Spring. The wood was piled high next to the door and was covered with a tarp to protect it from the rain that came before the snow. The man always felt sad about burning the wood. He did not feel guilty, only sad – sad because the wood was a thing he had gathered when the weather was nice, and burning the wood made him feel as if he were destroying part of the warm season. He enjoyed the weather then, when it was warm, and wanted to remember it, but not destroy it.

The man did not like the cold cheerless winters, it made his heart ache and his joints stiffen. Also, he was unable to enjoy his garden when the cold months came, and he found it increasingly difficult to visit his children when there was snow.

When the snow came, the hilly path to the children was too icy to climb without the high risk of slipping. Because of this grave concern, the man stayed safely indoors with his heavy books and looked out and thought about what it would be like to be warm again.

When the weather is warm, the man will visit his children, but not before it is mild and the snow has thawed from the path and washed down the incline and into his garden. In the Spring, the man will climb the hilly path to visit his children. He will take with him white and spotless lilies that grow along the back of the vegetable garden. The man will group together two bouquets of lilies and loosely tie the lilies with colored ribbon. The man will take the lilies and leave one bunch each to his children on the hilltop.

In the Spring, when it is warmer, the lilies he will take will be those that seemingly have always grown along the back of the vegetable garden. The lilies grow large and white along the back – the vegetables grow in the front and are more accessible. The lilies are not planted along the rear because they are less important, but because the vegetables are for the living, and the lilies are for his children.

6 comments on “The Lilies are for His Children ©

  1. bronxboy55 says:

    Beautifully worked, Joseph. I didn’t see that coming until the very last line, which felt like a punch to the stomach.

  2. Very moving story, rich with metaphor and with layers of life lived and appreciated. I wonder how many more layers I will discover when I read again, and again. Even with such short stories, you somehow manage to give depth and dimension to your characters.

    • Thank you most kindly.

      I wonder how much I can trim a story down, in words, but keep the language full, and rich with emotion. – Assuming I do that at all of course.

      I’m pleased you noticed the metaphors. Right away replace winter with death and wood with memories and you’re off and running…

  3. Anonymous says:

    We’re beginning to be linked in a frightening way. Our thoughts are far too similar too often. The moment you mentioned “children”, I knew where they were and why. And with another collection of words, you’ve brought tears to my eyes.


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