Monday, August 9, 2021

The Chair

painting by James Augsburger

Daniel stood in the living room of a cabin designed by his own imagination, built with his own two hands, and finished by his own grit. Half of it rested on the pebbled shore. The other half was supported on eight by eight pilings above the small lapping waves of a blue water lake.

He was arranging the furniture; sort of the finishing touch to his project. Everything fit but the leather chair inherited from his father. Well, not inherited—nobody else wanted it and Daniel was far too sentimental to leave it at the curb as junk for waste removal. However, for its age, it was surprisingly in good shape.

The view from the living room spanned across a lake dyed blue by the sky above. Rock bass, bluegill, and catfish swimming on the ten-foot bottom seemed close enough to touch. The oaks and maples a half-mile across the smooth blue lake huddled in green masses like clusters of moss.

Rushes of wind parted and bent the trees almost like the waves of wheat near harvest. They swayed and twisted as if dancing to some ancient song heard and known only by them.

It is no wonder natives built legends and myths around nature,” Daniel thought. “I think it started out knowing that nature is scientific and logical but the creativity in them wanted to make it romantic and fear-inspiring beyond something as simple as—‘God created the heavens and the earth.’”

Oh my God this is beautiful,” Daniel cried to no one but God.

In almost a reverential mood he slid the leather tufted chair across the hard oak floors until it rested in front of a large glass picture window. He stood back to gage if it sat in the right place.

He sat in the leather chair. A familiar soft odor surrounded him. He continued his gaze at the lake. He could not sit in that chair without thinking of his father. His father sat in that chair for years reading and occasionally looking off into the distance.

Dad had to have seen something besides smokestacks and utility wires,” Daniel thought. “That’s all that was outside our window.”

Daniel recalled a day when he was about fourteen. “What are you looking at, Dad?”

Just looking,” Dad said.

He never told Daniel what he was looking at or imagining. At one time Daniel thought his dad may be going insane.

Daniel now thought, “Why didn’t he just once share what was on his mind?”

There was the day I turned 18,” Daniel thought. “I asked him when he was ever going to tell me what he was thinking or what he saw.”

His dad replied, “Someday you will know what I’m looking at and what I thought.” His dad continued. “When I was 18 my Uncle Warren, you remember me telling you about him don’t you? Not much of a real Uncle. More like an older guy your parents tell you to stay away from. He told me for my graduation he’d take me on a road trip to California. He said he saved a lot of money for it and we take the entire summer. Truth is, Uncle Warren had just enough to make as far as Wyoming. The car broke down. He had no money for repairs. I had a buck fifty in my pocket and Uncle Warren said you’re on your own, kid. I eventually made it back home. Found a couple of odd jobs on the way. There was this one place I will never forget. It was a blue water lake surrounded by trees. I still see that lake and I have no regrets about what good ole Uncle Warren did. Because of him, I have a place to go whenever I want to.”

Daniel smiled soft and easy and thought as he sat in the chair, “This has to be the lake. Sitting here in this chair, I know, I know what he saw. He saw this long before I did.”

Daniel stood and moved behind the chair. “I’ve picked a good place for this chair. Dad, look all that you want to.”

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