The Bridge


Being the eldest son, his father had a fortune-teller do his charts.  His life was supposed to end at age forty-five, and, the fortune-teller told him that if he’d done good deeds, then, maybe, he could extend his life to fifty-five, at most.

At age forty, he’d gone out, to have the dates read, and, he’d had to check out the days to get his own hair cuts, he’d become extremely superstitious.  In a few more years, he’d gotten asthmatic, with a TON of ailments, angered easily, and he was sick the majority of his days, and, allowed his field to go to waste.

At age forty-five, he’d finally let it go.  He’d helped patched up the roads by the side of his own field that his neighbors trampled down, and gone to the river by the front of his house, and put rocks into it, to make crossing over to the other side easier for people.  The flood came, washed the stones away, and, before the waters receded, he’d gone out into the streams, and put those stones back again.  The river became over flown, he’d chopped the bamboos, to make a bridge, and had added the rails, so the children who pass through to go to school wouldn’t fall.  When the waterway was too wide and too deep, he’d made bamboo baskets, filled them up with rocks, and then, he’d made handrails using the bamboo growing along the sides of the river, and added the handrails too.  I’d helped him tied the cages from the bamboo together, to allow him to go into the icy, cold waters, to place the stones into the river, when I did this, he was already in his sixties.  Or, maybe, it’s building the bridge, it’d not only cured his asthma, and he’d firmed up his muscle tone too.  I’d heard, that before the day he’d passed, he’d still gone to the fields, and moved over ten basket full of vegetables.  He was seventy-three years old.

When I left home for school and to enlist, I’d never wondered who was there to help him till his land.  Decades after his death, there was an exhibition, and, in the paintings, there were five children that belonged to his older brother, some are sitting on the bridge, with a hat, splashing the waters around, it was very beautiful.  But the bridge……………too simplistic.  The bridge was already slanted, without the railings, probably from his elder years, when he had to finish the bridge on his own.

Looking at the painting, I was, all of a sudden, reminded, of how as I’d carried his photo in the Hurst, as we were about to drive across the bridge in the village, the Buddhist master told us to call out, “Dad—we’re passing over the bridge now!  Walk slowly, and don’t fear.”

And so, this, is how one passes on his legacy, and, the fortuneteller, telling the man that he will have a very short-lived life is probably why he’d spent his life, doing as much good as he could, and, he was troubled by the words too, but, when he’d gotten older, he’d set his own mind free, and started to do good things, NOT because he wanted to prolong his life, but because he wanted to, and, with that change of attitude, he no longer feared, and when he’d died, he’d died, a good man, in other people’s minds………

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Filed under Despair, Lessons, Life, Observations, Old Age, On Death & Dying, The Observer Effect, Translated Work, Wake Up Calls, Writing

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