09 February 2015

The Posts

One does not see them unless he looks for them. Two short log posts set in the ground at a measured distance from each other. They stand there, side by side, against a shallow bank. They are not the only posts along the trail. But they are the only ones uncapped. Perhaps only we who once sat on them would notice now.

Even I almost missed them, these used-to-be's among their fellows crowned with benches. Crude affairs, all, those bench-beams — unsanded trunks sawn in half lengthwise, with two large metal screws fixing them in place. The wooden seats are warped and slivered, and little paint remains. The rest of the posts along the trail serve their rightful purpose: to together support the beams.

But not these two posts, anymore.

As I pass them, I wonder that I could ever have sat there. I remember summer evenings, how the old beam seat creaked and rocked nearly off the posts. Only one screw worked at that point, and we had to brace our feet against the ground to keep our balance.

The posts shouldn't have been able to support a bench in the first place. There they stand, one at least two inches taller than the other. I wonder that I didn't notice it before. But they had a beam then; and it covered the difference, somehow. But seeing the exposed posts now, it makes sense why that bench would be the one to break.

I cannot even see the bench-beam now. Someone has long since picked it up, stowed it away somewhere unfindable. Only the posts remain, fixed in their proud places, refusing to bend, or to stretch, or to move. Unable to support the bench-beam that would connect them again and give their stiff stance purpose; yet stubbornly poised beside each other. Permanently posted there, that same unreachable distance apart. They have stood so for a long time now.

Perhaps someone will come and mend the gap — heighten one or saw off another, equalize the posts, and restore the crossbeam. But for now they stand there, stubborn posts, faithful sentinels to memory.

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