Life’s Simple Treasures

A lightning flash illuminates the nighttime sky,
as rain begins to fall. A young woman stands
upon the edge of a bridge, now ready to die,
feeling overwhelmed by all of life’s demands.

“You’ll be soaking wet unless you jump soon,”
says an elderly man, as he joins her upon the edge.
“If I am going to be dead, let it come a monsoon,”
she answers. “Besides, from the river they’ll dredge

my body wet and broken, come the morning.”
“Good then. I’ll jump with you. It’s time to die.
My life is spent. I will leave no one mourning.
My cancer’s spread; there is nothing more to try.”

The woman views him with suspicion. “Don’t
try to talk me out of it. My life is such a mess!”
“Life does have its valleys; often things won’t
go as we would wish. Life can be cruel, I guess.

“But, just as this rain and dark shall soon end,
with warmth and light arriving with the dawn sky,
in life the good usually overcomes the bad. When
older, you’ll understand this…unless tonight you die.”

Another bolt of lightning fills the sky overhead.
The woman shivers from the falling rain. Rivulets
fly from her hair and chin when she shakes her head.
“There isn’t anything in life I hadn’t just as soon forget.”

“You look cold. There’s a chill in the air tonight. Fall
will be here soon. Fall…ah, with its dazzling display
of colors as the leaves turn gorgeous prior to their fall,
it is my favorite season. That alone is a reason to stay.

“The smell of burning leaves, pumpkins now ripening,
perfect temperatures…but then comes the winter and
fields whitened with snow, cups of hot cocoa warming
our insides after time spent building a giant snowman.

“Spring brings new flowers to admire and smell. Birds
arrive to chirp you awake in the morning. Things turn
green with new hope. Summer is glorious beyond words.
How I love the smell of freshly mowed grass! I yearn

“with such a passion to see all those things one more time.
Alas, for me there is no choice. Oh, how I treasure every season
I have seen; how I realize these little things in life are sublime.
To choose to willingly miss a single one goes against all reason.”

Lightning reveals the woman slowly climbing over the railing
to stand upon the walkway. “I surely hope what you say is right.”
As if on cue, the rain stops, indicating that the storm is passing.
The man watches the woman turn and disappear into the night.

Harry Edward Gilleland      09.16.04