The Hermit and The Hill

As he watched the flames of the falling sun
curl and begin to slowly disappear behind the Northern Cliffs,
the man reached beneath his cloak and withdrew a small drawstring sack.
He carefully pulled at the bag’s golden string
and untied it with spindly fingers–brushed with age and wear.
After pulling the bag open,
the man reached far deeper into the bag than physically possible
and rummaged around for several seconds.

Once elbow deep in the battered marble pouch,
he grabbed a handful of its contents and
carefully withdrew his arm, as not to disrupt the remainder of it’s contents.
Cupped carefully in his weathered palm, the dark powder looked inconspicuous and plain.
From his other pocket the man withdrew a small empty vial–
corked with an aged piece of tree bark,
whittled perfectly by practiced hands into the shape of the bottle’s mouth.
Then, the man lowered himself to the ground and waited.

Curling tendrils of light began to reach out to the man,
desperately searching for fortuitous footholds in the hills and ragged bluffs
as they realized what was soon to transpire.
With a sigh that stretched centuries,
the man used his thumb to unplug the vial
and murmured a random incantation of syllables and sounds.
A bright light suddenly enveloped the glass container
and seconds later the Sun was contained.

With a flick of his wrist,
the old man released the powder into the air
and in the span of mere seconds Day was replaced with Night.
Time stood there awhile longer,
admiring his work and curiously searching his age-ridden mind.
Something was missing–
something he was supposed to do?
Then he remembered.

Time slowly stooped down and picked up a rock from the earthy hilltop.
He extended his arm backwards,
and snapped it forward with the strength of a man eons younger.
As the rock skipped across the Sky,
Time chuckled to himself–
this was one of the best parts of the job.
The rock landed softly in the Sky,
and there shone the Moon.

Still, something was miss–ahh!
Time smiled to himself and closed his eyes.
He Reached deep into his soul,
and let the beauty of the world overcome him.
Love, forgiveness, acts of kindness, acceptance, memories of loved ones lost–
all of these things washed over him in waves.
Time sat silently as tears of joy rolled down his face
and joined the Moon in the Sky.

As the Stars shone brightly overhead,
Time opened his eyes and stood up.
Everything was as it was supposed to be.
He picked up his beaten walking stick from the side of the path
and began hobbling back down towards the base of the hill.
His eternity had been lonely, solitary and quiet.
But as he watched lights begin to blink on in the city,
Time kept walking.

As beautiful as it all was,
Time stops for no one.

-ZCS

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