“Little do ye know your own blessedness; for to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.”
Well yes, thought Sam, as he trudged through the blizzard, it’s all very well but the cold was sapping his strength. The road was barely visible in the whiteness ahead. It was once familiar territory but now in the thickening snow he didn’t know where he was as he counted each step forward. Sheer will power drove him on towards his destination. The snow blanketed the countryside and in the driving snow laden wind he could only hear his laboured breathing and the faint crunch of his slowing steps.
Must be getting old he admitted and the extra pint at the pub hadn’t helped. Still, he’d stubbornly insisted that he wanted to visit the place again. It was Friday night after all. The place had changed though; new landlord and most of his old pals had either died or left the area. He didn’t want to be burden, the youngsters led busy lives, what with the lambing and all, and it had been a clear, moonlit evening when he’d set out. Now look at it. Still, mustn’t grumble, and this road can’t go on for ever. I just need to keep going. The snow was gentling drifting now the wind had dropped. The silence was eerie: he felt cut off from the world.
His bad knee collapsed, and he landed heavily in the powdery snow. Should have had the operation. Up until now he hadn’t seriously considered that he wouldn’t make it back but the urge to rest was overpowering. He’d had a good life and passed the farm over to his son. He’s doing a good job. He closed his eyes, feeling the light, icy flakes against his eyelids, and slept.
He dreamed of Mollie. Hadn’t done that for years. He thought about her often, but when he was awake, her image was hard to recall. The sense of her was there, but blurred somehow. Now he saw her with startling clarity. The light in her beautiful almond shaped eyes and the high cheekbones. He felt the softness of her shining hair and the warmth of her breath on his face. Her soft tones became more insistent and as he slowly came back to reality he was startled to find her tongue dampening his face and excited whimpers, and the texture of the hair under his hand was rough, course and damp with snow.
Lights dazzled his eyes as a Landrover slid to a halt in the road in front of him. The collie stayed by his side as his son approached.
“You’re a bit late Dad, let’s get you back. How does roast lamb sound?” Strong arms lifted him to his feet, and as they approached the car, his son said, “Dad, you nearly made it. Not far now, can you walk? I’ll dig the car out in the morning”.
Just five minute more and he saw the lights of the house. The two men, one supporting the other, and a dog disappeared into the welcoming warmth.