The mist-shrouded road seemed to lead into infinity. The tall trees on both sides went alongside it almost in a straight line and disappeared into the mist ahead. They were arranged in such a thick cluster that they confined the view to the road. If you wanted a view you had to look forwards or backwards. And, again, the view was limited by the mist that clung to this place forever.
There really wasn't much to see that day -- except an old man, trudging along the road, all alone, far away. From the distance it was quite difficult to make out any details. Because of the mist, he was just a faded old image. He appeared to wear an old overcoat and an old hat. He used a walking stick. It was his slow walk and drooping posture that suggested age. Otherwise, there was nothing remarkable about him.
From the look of it, he had come a long way. But there was no sign he'd stopped anywhere. He'd just kept going on and on in that same weary pace. Some dry leaves had fallen on the road and the ground by the trees. His walk was so slow and he was so far away, half covered in mist, it would have been hard to tell if he stopped on the way. But it did seem that he stopped at times, just to look back, at the leaves. It seemed that he stopped and sighed for a moment before he carried on again.
As he moved further away, the mist covered him even more. It was difficult to see him. Just then he seemed to stop once more and look back. Finally, he disappeared into the mist never to be seen again. And the leaves were blown away by a gust of wind.
The road really had nothing in particular to offer. But now and then, you might see
someone walk up the road, occasionally observe the fallen leaves, and then disappear
into the mist. And the leaves would be blown away . . . eventually.
© 1997 Sougato Sarkar, all rights reserved
appears here by permission
Some time ago, while flicking through a book of photos, I saw a picture like the one I described. For some reason, the picture never left my mind. And then I could relate it to life as we live it. And this piece was born.
I would like comments
by anyone who might read my piece. Since I fall in the category of "young"
writers, I definitely welcome constructive criticisms.