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Right Time

“Look!” said the boy. “The trees grow sad in the wintertime.”
And the woman looked and saw the last golden leaf float to the ground to join the others. The winter air was frozen cold and she tugged her coat up around her face and breathed warm breath into cupped hands. She turned to view the distant hills, already showing signs of snow, and to the valley where tiny chimneys puffed clouds of smoke in the hazy light of dusk. She watched her little boy scoop armfuls of the leaves and toss them into the air and he would run in circles and try to catch them, squealing with delight. Then the boy spoke again and this time she replied. For although the evening would be colder still, the woman was not sorry.

“It is the right time,” she said quietly nodding in acknowledgement, “it is the right time.”

The warmer weather was a welcome visitor, for the winter had been long and the ground had been hard. But now, as the first of the season’s blooms began to burst forth in vibrant array, the earth was thawed and ready to give way to new life. Spring had come and a woman and her boy walked in the meadow reveling in the sun’s kindness and gasping at the fresh colors that had sprung from the soil. The swallows had returned and busied themselves furnishing new nests, swooping and diving overhead as the couple made their way back along the path.

“How do the birds know when to come home?” The boy gazed into the endless blue, as if searching for his answer.

The woman smiled and said, “It is the right time,” and she too gazed skyward, “it is the right time.”

The sun was hot and turned their skins to even brown. The woman and her son would bathe most days in the cooler waters of a shallow stream and in the evenings while it was still light, they would dine outdoors. And when nature allowed, they would feast on ripe juicy peaches and plums with blood red flesh and shiny skins.

And when he was anxious the boy would ask his mother, “When will the peaches be ready?”

And she would reassure him, “At the right time - they'll be ready at the right time.”

And although the boy could only wonder at this natural miracle, for he could not hope to explain such magic, he was soothed by his mother’s explanation, for he knew that what she said was true.

As autumn brought its jolly coat of red and yellow and the air became crisp once more the pair would look forward to the cooler evenings, the crackling of log fires and the onset of the winter rains. And as they preserved the last of the summer fruits, they would sip the sweet syrup as it was spooned into waiting containers with sticky hands.

Happy were the days the two spent together, despite the sadness that had come and gone, and in time the boy was was to ask,

“Why did my father die?”

The woman thought for a moment, but she did not feel sad and presently, she gave her reply...

“Because it was the right time.”

And indeed, so it was.

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