Eye On Life Magazine

Make every day a beautiful day.

Eye on Life Magazine is a Lifestyle and Literary Magazine.  Enjoy articles on gardening, kitchen cooking, poetry, vintage decor, and more.

Before the Fall

I spotted my grandfather
As I drove down the block.
He was standing in front of his house,
Preparing to remove a tree stump
From the ground.
A storm had felled the young pine
A few weeks earlier,
And the sight
Of the gnarled thing
In his manicured yard
Had driven him to distraction.

As I pulled to the curb,
I watched my grandfather
Use a shovel
To loosen the exposed roots.
He then planted the blade
In the earth,
Gripped the splintering wood
In his hands,
And lowered his body
Toward the ground
For leverage.
He straightened his legs
And heaved with arms
That had held me
Almost too tight
Since I’d been born.
The stump failed to budge.

I turned the car off,
But remained behind the wheel,
Loathe to break
His concentration or posture.
He tried to lift
The tangle of roots again,
But succeeded only
In rocking the mass.

He brought himself fully erect,
Hands on hips.
Then his arms went limp.
He wiped the sweat
From his brow
And bowed his back.
I realized with some alarm
That he intended
To make another attempt.

I clambered from the car
And slammed the door.
He looked up.
A falsely cheerful greeting
Caught in my throat.
He didn’t speak,
But the grey clouding
His blue eyes
And the set
Of his bared teeth
Said it all.
“This hurts worse
Than anything ever has before
And ever will again.”  

-- Megan McDonald