Chapter Twenty-Five


Moses Gunn, 1754-1844


The coffin glistened under a mirror of ice. Freezing rain transformed the rough-hewn fir to a lustrous piece of fine polished furniture. The image of a small boy's face reflected through the shimmering surface. Needle sharp droplets stung the little cheeks before melting into tears, tears of sorrow, emptiness and confusion. The bitterness of the weather competed with his sensibilities, unconsciously distracting him from his grief.

"Can't we do something to keep Grandpa from getting wet?”  he whimpered, fidgeting.

His mother shared the pain and attempted to relieve his anxiety. "Don't worry, Virgie, he's nice and dry inside."

"But, won't he be cold?" he cried, shivering.

She hesitated for a moment and looked down the row of graves on the knoll in Montague’s South Cemetery. Her mother, Laura Gunn, Grandma Olive, Uncle Moses and Aunt Olive, were they all huddled together because of the cold she wondered?

She hesitated and answered simply, "No."

He danced the nervous dance cold little boys dance, shifting weight from one foot to the other, his head tucked into his mother's side, seeking refuge in her warmth. His brother, Julian, gifted in this manner, was chosen to say a few words over the grave. Ice piled on bowed heads and turned up collars.

“ ‘That we shall die, we know, 'tis but the time, and drawing days out, that men stand upon.’ He came close to death so many times, this son of Massachusetts and American patriot, he learned to fear it not, and fearing nothing, lived four score and ten contented years.”

“Into this blessed piece of earth we place these sacred remains of a simple man made noble by his life and deeds, thereby honoring our country and the great Clan Gunn.”

Our hearts are in your coffin with you, Grandfather Moses. When they return to us, our tears will cease and we will rejoice in your memory and honor you for all of our days. Requiescat in Pace.”


* * * * *




Their world was alive with color and music.  Moses and the boy whiled away the summer spinning daydreams in the meadow high over Otter Valley. Soft, multi-colored blossoms floated gently through the air, whites, reds, yellows and gold.  Moses held out his finger. A delicate yellow butterfly lit upon it, as if it sensed sanctuary.

“Never harm a butterfly,” Virgie.  “Butterflies are special. They're like our spirits. We struggle all of our lives to free ourselves from our cocoons. Only then can we fly.”

Moses offered the butterfly to Virgil. Its frail petals quivered as it climbed on the little boy's finger.

“Isn't she pretty?” said Moses. “As yellow and bright as a buttercup. I wonder if she remembers?"

The fragile winged creature gracefully rose on a faerie breath of summer and silently joined its siblings, blessed by the spirits of the wind, guided by great invisible hands.

"I wonder if we remember?"


The End


Book Two Will Continue The Journey

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