More morning speed-writing, and another picture I came across.
He walked out that morning, planning never to come back, wearing his trusty old jacket, boots, holding his walking stick in his arthritic right hand. His old bones weighed too much on his children and he wanted a quiet place to curl up and die, like a tired bear who has slept through countless winters, raided many honeycombs in summer, hunted, feasted and danced under the moon; and now, too tired to carry on, wants a place to lie under his own fur, lay his head on a smooth stone and never wake up again.
He walked down the riverbank with a purposeful stride, as if he knew where this stone would be. Though he longed to hear their chatter, the birds held their quiet before sunrise, and the slow river made no sound as it ambled its way towards the sea. The mosquitoes that buzzed around him every day on his walks had disappeared.
He missed his hound, his hunting companion of many years whom he’d buried in the backyard the month before, wondered if his kids would find him and bring him back to lay beside that old black rascal, alert for a partridge in his dotage, in the very last week of his life.
He raised his nose in imitation of his hound and tried to sniff the lightening, starlit air, but caught only the fish-like stench of the river. No flowers bloomed this early in spring. He stepped off the beaten path through the woods, and heard twigs crackle under his boots. He took out the hip flask that had ridden in his pocket the last two decades, unscrewed it and took a swig.
He thrashed his way towards the bank and flung the walking stick as far as he could into the river. In the dull light, he watched it float lazily away near the middle. He stumbled on, determined to walk till he either fell down or found his stone.