An Hours Remembrance at Sunset
The hill I sit on as I watch the sun go down this summer evening, is one I have sat on many a time in my life. As a child at play, as an adult to think and now, the winter of my life has come. This hill is like an old friend with which I may sit and remember. Tonight, as most always I think of my family, but most of the lady who was my life. She is parted from life now, but if I talk about her as if she is here, it's because I can feel her always close by my side. Even though Anna my dear, my eyes have not been able to see you for sometime now, I have always know you were close
. My Grandmother knew so well when she talked to us as children. That I would need Anna always, I remember what she said that day. It is so odd that I have dreamed of my Grandmother's talk many times over the years, as I remember. I see the talk as happening to strangers as if I'm looking in from the outside, it happened so long ago.
I am asleep in my bed when I hear a woman's voice say Julian and feel a hand caress the side of my head. I look and see a lady in a dark blue robe, with scarlet hair watching me. I called out to her, Grandmother, reaching out my hand to her.
Looking beyond her I see before me the scene of a woman and two children, one a girl and the other a boy. The two children are very close friends, this is plain to see. Their ages around eight or ten. Could it be a reflection of Anna and I at a young age?
The woman is walking down a large stone hallway toward the children. In years she looks to be in her late forties. She stops and puts her arms around both children. Then sits on a stone bench in the hallway. Something had happened that made the children sad. The boy was not taking it as well as the girl, he had been crying. In fact the girl had been trying to comfort him before the woman came up. The woman isn't talking to the boy, as she holds both children. She directs her words to the girl. Keeping her arm around the boy she takes both of the girls hands in hers. She tells the girl, the women of the clan must be the strong ones and support their men. She talks as if she knows the future, that the boy and girl will remain together always. He will do many things in the years to come, but he will always turn to you for his strength and support. He will tell you many things and ask your advice in all sort of matters. You are both strong but he needs you, just so he can be himself. Look how even at your young ages he looks to you for support and depends on you being there for him. In turn he would lay down his life for you, if the need should come. The two of you belong together. I know neither of you children will remember this talk, but I will thank you now for standing by him in the years that you both still must face. The woman then turns both children loose, ruffles their hair and walks away.
And yes Grandmother, many years you have been gone and I am older now than you were then, but I remember still. You were right, Anna was always the best part of me, the part that kept me going, the one I needed just to listen the one I needed to care.
I remember back to the first time, I returned home with my men after repelling invaders from our shores.
Our country had been invaded and all men from all the land were called to arms. My people and I responded as expected, now we are headed home. Most of those that left with me a year ago are returning to their families. We also return with a few empty saddles and sad tidings for the families of the men who will not return.
We top the hill above our home and look into the valley before us. Our spirits pick up now that we can see our home. I turn to Kenneth and bid him take the men on down to their families. I myself wish to set on the hill by myself alone and contemplate our journey and our return.
I step from my horse, my legs almost give way. They have been around a horse to long and have almost forgotten how to stand. I walk over and sit on a large rock and watch as the men approach the main gate.
My father and his father before him held this land. Now I hold the responsibility for the land and the people who lived here. We live in a large old castle, that has now become a town, all the people of our village live inside the walls. We have moved the wall out over the years to make more room for the people. We must have room for them all to be protected.
Outside of the walls are the green pastures and farm land that feed our people. A small stream flows from north to south, Starting in a spring that lays inside the castle walls.
The gates are opening and families are running out to meet their men. Time I moved and went down there myself. I am expected to be with the men at their home coming. I just hate to face the families of those that didn't return.
I approach the gate and see an anxious brown haired lady standing slightly back from the crowd and looking for someone. I raised my arm in the air and she saw me. At once she started running and pushing through the crowd. Soon reaching my side. I grabbed her and we held each other for a long moment. She is my young wife and best friend all wrapped into one. My Lady Anna, I worry about her all the time I'm gone.
Together she and I had grown up together. Her father was my fathers top lieutenant. She and I had been born within a month of each other, it seems we have been best friends from that time on.
There is an old door in the back of the castle wall that was once used to throw out trash. But long ago we started moving trash to a far field, away from the walls. Anna and I had found this door and through it found a small clearing in the woods behind the castle where no one ever went. When not at study or work she and I have spent much of our free time there. When young running and playing, then as we got older sitting on a blanket under the trees and talking.
Who am I? I have oft asked myself this question. I'm a simple man that has the responsibility to provide for these people that live on my land. I must smile to myself when I think of my quiet Lady. She is in charge when I am gone. She feels as responsible as I for the well being of these people. Who would have thought inside this shy quiet lady was the heart and spirt of a true leader and warrior. I must tell a small story on her.
One day I awake from a nap in the middle of the day and hear a lot of noise coming from outside. I look out the window but can't see anything. So I go down to the courtyard and see a large group of people blocking the main gate to our town. To see what is happening on the outside so I climb up to the guard post next to the gate and look out on the other side.
What I see makes me laugh, there is Anna pushing her way through the crowd with three of the gate guards in tow. The guards have the strangest look of bewilderment on their faces you could ever want to see. Here is this soft gentle lady moving through the crowd like a bull pushing people out of the way and yelling orders like a general. With the biggest most bewildered men close behind jumping to her every word.
Then I see what is causing the problem. There are two men in dark robes at the center of the crowd, there is an open space around them and people are just looking on. One of the men in the robes is at the center of a large circle drawn on the ground. He has two women on their hands and knees on the ground in front of him and seems to be making an example of them. He has them by the hair and picks their heads up and then pushes them down as he yells at the crowd. I then recognize the two women, they are single women that are known to like the men and parties a little more than most. The man in the robe is saying something about hell and their way of life and jerks both of their heads up in the air at the same time.
This is the very moment Anna hits him just as square in the face as she could. He hadn't seen her coming until it was to late. I didn't know a small woman could knock a large man back that far. She just stepped in between the two women and hit him. Now she has him by the front of the robe, her face about two inches from his and is backing him away from the gate. I can't hear a thing she is saying, the crowd is laughing and drowning out her voice. I did hear her say, my women and you will not as long as I'm here. The man trips and falls backward, she is still bent over him telling him what he can do, I'm sure.
Now she turns to the guards and steps away from the man. The guards grab both of the men in the dark robes by the arm and start walking them down the road away from the crowd. Anna returns to where the two women are still on the ground, helping each in turn to their feet. She gives each of them a hug, holding them for a long moment. Putting an arm around each she starts walking them back toward the gates, while talking to each in turn. The crowd is going it's own way now, as the three women get close to the gates Anna yells something to one of the people standing near and they start running toward my study room.
No one knows I'm on the wall watching and I don't think I want anyone to know. I have a feeling I'm going to be told, by this small lady coming my way, to go and do something about those men and at the moment I would like to stay out of it. Anna is most always gentle and quiet until she thinks one of our people has been done wrong, then look out because she will be coming after me to fix the wrong doing. I don't think I want to be found right now, I'm going to play the coward and go down the back steps for a long walk in the woods. O! no here comes one of the guards and I think I've been found.
One time I returned from a trip where duty called, Anna didn't show at the gate when we arrived. I knew where she was, so I took a blanket and went through the small door into the glen in back of the castle. There I found her and our sons. As the years went by, she and I many times wrote poems to each other as our way of communicating. It seems I can somehow still express myself better in a poem. So in my way of remembering, I must also remember the poems. As they were written then, I now use them to remember.
I know a place, so far and yet so near
A place some hold quit dear
Now, I go there in my mind
I know, I will never find another of this kind
To the south, a stone wall so grey and old
These walls of which, many a tale has been told
It's not about these walls we speak
But the Glen beyond, that we seek
A small door in the wall now opens
A Lad and Lass jump down, to adventures unspoken
The green grass flies beneath their feet
As they run to and fro playing hide and seek
A forgotten place, is this Glen so small
To be known by a few, not by all
A description now I must tell
You see, I know this place so very well
Could I be the Lad running there
Are you the Lass with flower in her hair
The oak trees like a crescent moon, bend around the Glen
To touch the stone wall at each end
A blue stream enters to the north, it seems with out a care
To wind back and forth and exit to the south, over there
The quiet is beyond belief
Listen! you can hear the falling of just one leaf
This day was but a day of fun
But as the years went by, this Lad and Lass became as one
Through war and strife to the Glen they would come, to lay on a blanket there
To simply hold each other, and pretend they had no care
Sometimes, she would come to cry alone
To sit by the stream, and let her tears fall upon the stone
When off to battle he had ridden
To protect their land, from invaders now hidden
The years went by they had a son
And before too long another one
The father gone, sons halfway grown, with their mother to the Glen now go
The new flowers of spring for to show
The scream of the hawk high in the air
Made them stop look and stare
For from it's leg did dangle
Their fathers small red and blue bangle
She turned to run, with words unspoken
When the small door in the wall did open
He stepped down, blanket in hand into the Glen
The last time, he could not remember when
They lay the blanket beneath the trees, He and She
With their Sons at each knee
For a time he had been away, his story they would hear
She smiled, you were not gone quit a year
He told the boys to go and play
They could hear his tales, another day
She smiled, and simply touched his hand
Turning he looked into her eyes and new, he was the richest man in all the land
To the Glen, He and She had once more come, to lay on a blanket there
To simply hold each other, and pretend they had no care
She and I are the center of each others world, but within that world are three sons and two daughters that round it out. The thing that stands out most of all, is the fact that she and I are truly good friends and like each other. Some people who are married say I love you. But do they ever stop and ask do I like you? How I sometimes wish we had been born poor peasants. With out the responsibilities of all the people that depended on us. This poem I wrote for her, after one of my homecomings. It's as if I could always feel her close at hand.
I touch you now
I know somehow
It's so plain to see
I am you, you are me
I speak the words
It's you who are heard
I'm out, so far from home
I feel you reach out, I'm not alone
I am the whisper, you've not heard
I know you, understand each word
We are two people, as it must be
But we share one soul, it seems to me
I remember when there were just the two of us, young not yet married but together in the glen. A large rain storm slipped up and caught us in the open. As we ran for cover I heard a sound and found a small hawk trapped in a hunters net. I stopped and set him free, he and I have been the best of friends from that day on. But Anna could only make fun of my wet hair hanging in long dirty curls from my head. Until she saw the blood on my face where the hawk had hit me with his talons. Then she rushed me inside to take care of my face.
But I was so proud a small young hawk sat defiantly on my arm of his own free will. I could have cared less if one side of my face was covered with blood.
I watch you now, soar on the wind
It makes me remember way back when
I found you so small, wet and gray
Together we have been, since that day
Beneath the brush, Tangled in a hunters net
You fight and fight, never content to set
I take you then and set you free
It's true, tame you will never be
You fly up and scar my face
A scar time will not erase
You fly up then into the air
Headed, I don't know where
You turn, and fly back down
To land next to me on the ground
You came then and jumped upon my knee
It seemed our friendship, was meant to be
And even though, I don't think you meant to stay
A young hawk and I, became life long friends, that day
Hawk my friend I thank you now
For it seems as if somehow
When you fly so high above the trees
I am you and you are me
For what you see flashes in my mind
That I can not also fly, I feel is most unkind
Fly to the west so I can see
Five leagues away the blue green sea
Now fly to the north with much speed
We'll check on Milady, to see if she has needs
Now back to me on quiet wing
When we fly together, it makes my heart sing
You ride on my arm for all to see
Sitting up tall, so proud and free
I've been told, hood your hawk so he can't see
On your head a hood will never be
To hood you my friend, would be blinding me
A friend to me you are indeed
To my rescue you come, when I'm in need
You own a hawk, some people say
Hawk is owned by no one, and won't be to his dying day
Friends he and I, it's the only way
We compliment each other, so he decided to stay
This life I live is so full of wonder and happiness I can't imagine how it could be made better. My family makes it all worth while.
Sadness befalls our home. Our youngest daughter is gravely ill and no matter what we do can't seem to bring the hotness out of her small young body. My lady sits with her night and day, I worry she also will become sick if she doesn't get some rest. I go in and sit with them both but Anna will not rest. I do not know what I should do, so I go out and walk in the glen and pray to all that is for help for I am just a simple person and know not what I should do.
Our daughter has died, six days she was sick. Now she is gone. Anna weeps all the time now, never a smile do I see on her face. It rips the heart from my chest to have our little angel gone and to see my lady like this. I hold Anna's hand and try to stay at her side but still she weeps. We take the little one into the glen where we will lay her to rest beneath the trees. She is wrapped in her favorite golden blanket. Now we forever lay her to rest.
It has been several months since the passing of our young one. Still Anna does not smile, no longer does she weep all the time but no smile have I seen. There seems to be trouble outside I must go and check.
It has been some time since I wrote in this journal. I went to check on some trouble and found a band of robbers at our town gates. In the fight that followed my shoulder was run through with a sword, much blood did I lose. We won the fight, but the last thing I remember was Anna screaming for the men to get me inside so she could dress my wound. In the days that followed all I remember are small glimpses of my beautiful lady as she tended me. And dreams of terror and sometimes just darkness. I seemed to drift on this long sheet of blackness with no end. I would leave my body and look at it from the outside. Sometimes Anna would say, No! you aren't going to leave me and I would return to my body. Then one evening as the sun was setting over the glen I opened my eyes and asked for a drink of water. I looked at Anna and saw a smile on her face and tears in her eyes. It was the best thing that could happen for me, a smile on her face again.
I have been told by others ( never by her). That from the time they carried me in, Anna never left my side. She tended me day and night, if asked to leave she would answer. I have just lost my youngest, I will not lose this man also. I will keep him alive if by no other way than will alone. This I'm sure she did, for I remember myself slipping away and was always brought back by the touch of her hand. Thank you Milady I will forever and always be ready to lay my life at your feet. For with out you what worth would I be?
I remember a time I did as I am doing now, sitting on the hill to think. Memories can never be controlled they come back and haunt you at the most odd times and for the most unusual reasons. I have taken my horse and of course hawk and ridden to the south just to sit on a hill and think. Sometimes a person needs to be alone so they can relax and think only to themselves. My mind roamed back to a time when all the people in the land had been asked to send their fighting men to the south to protect our lands. I left with all the men we could spare. We rode hard for ten day. We reached a place, I wish to which we had never come. The battle had already been joined, we came in and swung the tide to our side. But the cost was great, many men were lost on both sides that day. That night as I walked among the dead bodies the tears ran down my face for all that had died there. Once you smell death on the battle field you will never forget it, no matter how long you live. Who was the winner here? Who is the better off, the dead their memories have stopped they have moved on to a better place? Or the living who will carry the memories of this day tell the day they die.
At night the memory is the worst, you think it would lessen with time, but I can't forgive myself for the men I lost that day. The thing that helps the most is to reach out in the night, when the pain is the worst, and hold my lady's hand. This one thing has allowed me to keep my mind all these years.
I must go back now for Anna waits for me and will worry if I'm not home by dark. Even though she knows I am perfectly safe on our own land. I have little to do but remember these days , my sons run most of the day to day things and handle all the problems. I have nothing of which to complain, I have lived long have a good family and a lady beyond compare. As I have said, at times I talk as if Anna is still here and she can hear, because I can still feel her near.
So I sit and remember our first child, I'm so proud of you, a baby and I hold it in my hands. It's so small and all red, just looks at me and gurgles. You look so tired my dear. This is our first child and I even forgot to ask if it's boy or girl. It doesn't matter you and the baby are both safe. I smile at you so beautiful and so tired. Thank you, you are my life everything else is only extra. Goodnight rest now my dear.
When I think of my family and the wars I have seen I think of this poem. I am always glad I had Anna and our family they are foremost above everything else.
My heart I'm told should be hard as stone
While with others, I must still stand alone
A warrior I have always been
To show weakness, Would be as a mortal sin
Within my heart, I can never let anyone near
I desire the touch of someone, I could hold dear
Surrender myself, tell to them my innermost fear
And be near to them year after year
I have gone into battle many times with my men
My dreams and hopes, would look like a weakness to them
A wife and a family to call my own
A place I could go and truly call home
Then if I should die in a land far from home
I'd know someone cared
I would not die alone
But if it should be in the ways of time
A wife and family shall never be mine
Then let my blood on this battle field stain
I have no better place to go
I will be one, who shall remain
Let me take the place of the man with a wife and home
Let him live
Return to wife and child so they don't live alone
If this should be, when I die let this man stand near
I will wish him, God speed you home
Dying alone was my greatest fear
As I have said before. I am so lucky to have a lady such as this. Many souls go through many life times never finding one such as this lady. She is my best friend, confident and lover. I thank the creator for loaning me an angel for my short stay on earth. I will never be alone, I'm sure she will be with me forever.
I remember a time shortly after we were married, she came to stand watch with me. The night is dark and cold. Rain is falling as I stand and look out into the darkness. Once in awhile lighting flashes and the sky trembles like a thousand cannons. I have night watch on the tower of the south gate, just what I needed to be out here tonight with my young wife down below in our quarters. When not to long ago she was a new bride. I smile to myself when I remember how beautiful she looked on our wedding day. I hear the ladder creak, someone is coming up to the tower from below. I walk outside the tower to see who it is and find my young wife just stepping onto the landing next to the tower. We both step back into the tower to get out of the rain.
She hands me a drinking gourd full of hot broth. I knew you would be cold and lonesome. So drink your broth and I will stay with you awhile. I know ladies are not allowed in the guard towers at night, but one day I will be Lady of all I can see. So shut your mouth and let me stand close so I don't get cold.
The rain is stopping and the moon is trying to break through the clouds. I need to check the walls. I ask," would you like to stand in the moon light while I check the walls?" She laughs takes me by the arm and leads me on a check of the wall, one would have thought she was the one on guard duty not myself.
This reminds me Anna, of the day we were married. I am in the great hall that is part of my home. There are many people here. Today you and I are getting married. I stand waiting for you to come into the room. There is no music, there is a hush over the crowd with a child's voice being heard from time to time.
Then I see you coming through the door, my heart jumps and skips a beat. Your light brown hair is pulled back from your face and hangs down your back. You have made yourself a halo for your head, out of small white flowers. Your face simply shines. I have loved you so long and yet I have never seen you look so beautiful. Your dress is long and flowing behind you. Two small girls carry the ends. Your dress is blue, not light, but the color of a very deep lake, more purple than blue. You walk toward me, you are the only person in the world I can see. In my heart I'm yours for now and all time. Never could God make anything more beautiful than you. A true Lady with class and grace. I shall never be happy looking at another women's face.
Then you are standing by my side. My beautiful Anna. I have a feeling that this has happened before, pass over me. It's as if you and I have always been together. Then the wedding begins. As I say my vows I know with out a doubt I have said them to you before. I get such strong feelings of deja vu, my knees are week and I have a hard time standing. I can only hear myself saying the words.
My Lady I kneel now before you.
The reflection of my love I see in your eyes.
The love I have for you knows no bounds.
I pledge myself and my love to you, and to cherish you for all time.
I shall protect you from all harm real and imaginary now and forever.
My life is yours to do with as you please, I would gladly if asked, lay it at your feet.
For you are everything, the world and more to me.
With out you I could not go on, I would have no desire to live.
My sword and arm that hold it are yours to control, my lands we now share.
Today a white rose for you, will be added to our crest next to my red.
The swords shall now point down, to express the gentleness in you.
From today forward the crest shall depict us and shall be ours no longer just mine.
I do now pledge to love and protect you as my only love for now and through all times.
To stand by you in all you desire and do, my wish is to simply love you forever.
Take now my hand for in it you find my heart, please keep and cherish its love forever.
Memories can be as the first warm days of spring, full of freshness and pretty flowers or as the dark days of a long winter, cold and bitting to leave you ever chilled inside.
I had sat in the room for most of a week. Anna had not been feeling well and one day just didn't get out of bed. She looked so small and frail laying there it made my heart ache. I would sit by the bed holding her hand and look out the window into the glen where we had spent many of our happier hours. First as children then as Adults.
I had food brought to me so I didn't have to leave her side. If only I could have changed places with her I gladly would have. She had pulled me through more than one bad time, it was only her strong will that kept me alive after I had been run through with a sword.
She didn't talk, just sleep and wake up once in awhile look at me and kind of squeeze my hand. Shortly then she would drop off back to sleep. Then she awoke and told me goodbye and left me. I just lost the most cherished thing in my world. I felt as if my heart were ripped out of my chest
I have failed my Lady. My will wasn't strong enough to hold her here. I shall always blame myself for her passing. It should have been I that died , not my beautiful sweet Anna.
We lay Anna to rest yesterday under the trees. I have sat by her side throughout the day and night. Others tell me I must leave now but I can't bring myself to do so. She has been a part of me for so long I don't know how to go on without her. In my head there is an empty place where there was always her voice to help me through. We used to laugh that even when I had to go away we always knew what each other was thinking and whether or not the other one was alright or not. Now her voice is gone, just a memory remains. I just sit here with my head on my hands, resting on her stone. My eyes so blurred with tears I can't even read her name where I personally chiseled it in the stone.
O! my Lady, I kneel now at your bed
Every prayer I know, have I said
I hold your hand so frail and white
In my life you have been my greatest light
O! my Lady don't leave me now
It is I first, who should have gone
All battle scared and worn
If you leave me now
From my chest, my heart shall be torn
You smile, and whisper to me so clear
I'm leaving now, please have no fear
When you need me, go sit beneath the trees, stop and listen
I'll always be near
Only once before, have I felt such great despair
When we lost out smallest Angel fair
Just before she pasted away
She looked at you, I heard her say
Don't cry mommy, I'll wait for you, outside beneath the trees
I sit and hold your hand thorough out the night
They come and take you away with the morning light
Your wrapped up in a blanket now
A blanket the color of the trees, It seemed so right somehow
I carry you now into the Glen
In which from our youth many, an hour have we been
To lay beneath the trees on a blanket there
And pretend we had no care
I take you now one last time, to lay beneath the trees
I lay you in the most beautiful spot, that I can see
A year has gone since you went away
I visit the Glen and you most everyday
Now I sit beneath the trees alone
And let my tears fall on your stone
I look up and smile, I feel your hand brush across my brow
I then hear, your whisper in my ear
It's alright, soon we'll be together again my dear
Our Angel and I are waiting here, For you beneath the trees
I remember how she used to like to go and inspect the fields with me. We would walk along at the end of a day and just enjoy the beauty of nature and the growing crops.
I remember my end. I am sitting by Anna's grave with my hand resting on her stone. I long so badly for her, how I wish she could return. I just seem to drift out of my body. I can see myself slumped over on the ground. Is this what it is like to die? I seem to no longer have contact with my body. What's this? A hand is being held out to me, then I see Anna's smiling face, thank you God, I'm home now I've found my place.
When I started my story I was sitting on a hill at sunset watching the sun go down. If you haven't guessed by now, it was my sunset and Anna is sitting here beside me smiling and forever holding my hand.