The Old Man and the Standing Stone

There is a single standing stone near the pond where the old man goes to fish.

The stone stands straight and still. It has collected moss in the indentations that the sun does not reach.

Who brought it here and how and why? These questions once preoccupied the old man; but now he wanders instead of wonders.

Up and down these gold-green hills he walks each day to the pond and casts his line into the placid water.

The water takes on the appearance of the sky and the hills, like a mirror into a painting that ripples gently. And when the fishing line disturbs the water it is like the flourish of a paintbrush.

The old man was someone else once; perhaps the stone was something else too.

And the fish too, with their rainbow-coloured scales.

The fish do not bite often and when they do the old man throws them back. When he does so, the reflected sky is disturbed for a moment—but only for a moment.

As the sun rolls down the hills, grass once green is turned to gold and the shadows of the old man and the standing stone grow longer.

The old man was someone else once, but he does not remember who. This thought does not disturb him, for now he wanders instead of wonders.

The standing stone does neither.