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The Woodsman and the Shepherd

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An old stone wall marks the boundaries of the overgrown pasture.

We meet at the height of his land where the woods give way to an old pasture, he, the woodsman, and I, the shepherd. An old stone wall remembers when that pasture lay green with grass. I have my sheep dog by my side, full of exuberance, and he stands alone in flannel shirt. We talk about busy summers, and time slipped by. I ask if he found the jar of wild raspberry jelly I left on his tractor seat, and he asks if our college bound daughters have headed back to school.

Saplings and brambles fill the field.

We stand and gaze upon the beauty of the distant mountains on the other side of the field. The field now full of saplings and  brambles. He tells me to take it all in, to feast upon the view, for one day, that view will be hidden. He says in another 10 years all those sticks of trees will be so tall that you will not be able to see the sunset behind the mountains. The woodsman stands looking out over his land, dreaming of that day when the sugar maples have grown to full stature. He dreams of sugar taps and steam from his evaporator. He hears his chain saw, and calculates how many cords of wood those trees will provide.

Young sugar maple

I, the shepherd, stand looking out over the woodsman’s overgrown field. I marvel at why anyone would want to cover up the splendor and majesty of layers upon layers of mountains. I dream of a small herd of goats clearing that land so my sheep can graze there. I remember the field full of wild flowers all summer and the scent of warm raspberries. I remember middle daughter with camera in hand, taking hundreds of pictures of that pasture and dreaming of building herself a little house, right there in the middle of the brambles.

The woodsman’s firewood

For a few moments, we both stare in silence. The woodsman with his thoughts, and I, the shepherd, with my own. Then our eyes meet again in a knowing sort of way. He says he has not forgotten about his one acre open field that lines the lower part of my 2 acre field. He says we will meet one day soon, to talk, and to trade acre for acre….the woodsman’s little field, for the shepherd’s towering red pines. No words need to speak what our hearts know, his love is in the woods, and mine is with my sheep. We walk our separate ways, he, the woodsman, goes back to his forest and stacks of split firewood, and I the shepherd make my way back to where the woods open up to my field and my sheep.

Chloe watches as we make our way out of the woods.

P.S. More readings on the woodsman’s old meadow.


2 Responses

  1. Undomiel

    This is beautiful. I wish I could see the view from that field again, now that the trees have lost the leaves that blocked our sight. The mountains look just as mysteriously entrancing as they were in summer.

  2. Terriea Kwong

    Stunning views and beautiful description. I wish I could see the brilliant scenery in person.