Saturday, March 5, 2016
Looking out the rear of the old house opened up a panorama of oak and hickory trees, thick and tall, running for a half mile before yielding to the iridescent green of snowless pasture. Wood ducks and crows called to their mates amidst the few rustling leaves still clinging to the mostly bare branches. Winter had come upon the land quickly, but today a warm southern breeze brought a moment of peace and time to meditate upon the recently departed days of harvest before the solemn, cold gray took up full time residence for the coming half year.
Malcolm was not a pious man, but he was keenly thankful for what God had left him, and the spareness, the simplicity of that remnant was clearing away the decadent years of excess from his mind, gradually replacing the old thoughts with newer, more aware thoughts of gratitude and contemplation. He could feel the nearness of God growing daily through his own humbling poverty and modest means of daily survival.
It had been a hard two years since the general collapse and mass die off, and while an opportunistic will had propelled him through the darkest hours, it had also cost him a few shreds of his humanity that he wished he could reclaim, but now knew that only God could replace. Forgiveness, he realized, was as important as gratitude. In time, the work he had begun on the abandoned homestead would again bring abundance and prosperity, but he was determined now to not squander the blessings nor the labor, and would seek to make a haven for what few lost roaming travelers there still were wandering the echoes of the old world, trying to decide if it was worth erecting a new one. Malcolm thought he had a good answer to that question: it would just take time, patience, and most importantly a charity of spirit towards others that had been so completely absent in the later days of the old world that one could not help but mark its significant contribution to the fall.