The old man was prepared to accept that this was it. This was the end. He had been laid to rest after years of living in the garden. He didn’t mind really. He had enjoyed his life, even though he had been battered around by the storms, survived the heat, the drought, the floods and kids climbing all around him.
As he aged, he had folded his bark coat more thickly around himself. This gave his aging limbs protection from the elements and attacks from marauding insects. Although, at the time, he wept a little, he was proud of the heart the lovers had carved in his coat. He had offered them protection from the onlooker’s gaze as they swapped their innermost secrets and committed themselves to each other.
As he lay within the slabs cut from his generous girth, he allowed the breezes to filter between the thick slices of his manhood. He whiled the days away thinking of the good times in the past. He was a daydreaming old man.
Time passed. The timber cutter returned to survey the slabs he had cut some time ago. As they sat on their thin wooden interlays they had dried and some of the bark had started to peel from the outer skin. He scratched his head. The time had come.
The old man shivered as he was gently transported from his place of rest to a place of work. The timber cutter ran his hand over the stained and moldy slabs. He scratched at the surface as if it was Aladdin’s lamp. And yes! The ‘Genie’ was still inside.
The old man was born again. His beauty was revealed to the world, as his outer coat was removed and the dirt and grime of his years sanded away. He became a seat of rest in the park where he was surrounded by flowers and other trees. Once again, the children play around him and lovers whisper sweet nothings to each other when they sit and hold hands. His gnarled old twisted frame has been transformed. His inner beauty revealed. His life has not been wasted. He is happy again.
And so it is with us as we age. We can always be of value to society, as long as we keep the ‘Genie’ available inside us.
I’m Peter Mack and that’s life.