It has snowed of late, and one day not too long ago, I had the chance to take a morning walk in fresh and hushed snow, no animals moving that I could hear, only the occasional far away snap of a twig that might have signaled an overbalance of snow, a bird, or both. I walked a long way without thinking about it, enjoying for once the state of being only in the present, wholly intent on the keenness of the air and the stillness shared by myself and the landscape. Finally, I walked out along a road that slowly converges with a road running somewhat parallel to it: the narrow end of a pie slice, so to speak.
There is, before the slice gets really thin, a group of apartments set back in the woods; I could smell woodsmoke from fireplaces, and saw a few children with sleds and their improvised stand-ins dash across the road to a field containing a fairly mountainous and now generously snowy dirt mound. There was a small playground, enclosed by a wire fence. When I had reached almost the narrowest point, where I planned to turn back, I glanced into trees, and then I saw it: a lone bench amid the trees, facing, at some distance and no relation, the wire fence shielding the playground. Lonely bench, I called it. I wondered how it had come to pass that this bench, apparently still sturdy and gathering snow, had come to be out in the slip of woods alone. What had been here, once ? The road I had been walking on had, at this end, clearly once been split into undeveloped land, to make an offramp for the busier road in the distance. What had it been a part of, once ? Though I call it lonely, the bench seemed peaceful, as if gathering onto itself the calm of the falling snow, resting, sheltered by the shoots and saplings and boughs like those it had been born from. I have been that way before and not noticed it. In the snow, it seemed to reassert its form, its singular presence calling its offering to the passerby: lonely ? bench. Sit with me.
Postscript: The image needs to be viewed full size for best effect. Clicking on it should open it in a new window.