The Distant Mountain and the Barren Tree (a Blog Hop Story)

I found this Blog Hop Photo Reveal from Writings and Ruminations and decided I would give it a shot.  I hope you enjoy it.

Car and Mountain big

Words:  cook, help, relative, tears, finger

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help?

The verse flowed from Joseph’s lips as tears trickled down his cheeks.

Joseph reached in his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief, wiping away the tears.  Out of his other p0cket, he pulled out a letter, already opened. He began to read through his reddened eyes, following each word with his finger as if trying to decode a hidden meaning.

Dear Joseph,

I never expected I would be writing this to you.  I want you to know how much you have meant to me.  The last thing I wanted to do is hurt you, but I suppose that is exactly what I am doing.

 I have met someone else.  We are getting married.  What more can I say? 

Please forgive me,


Joseph stared at Leila’s name and an image came to his mind.  The day he said goodbye, just outside her house.  He was on his way West to work as a cook at a summer resort.   But he wanted to see her one last time.  She pledged her love for always.  He simply replied,  “Thank you.”  Not “I love you, too.”  Just “Thank you.”

She looked hurt, as if she had fallen and no one was there to pick her up.  That was just two months ago, but it might as well have been an eternity.  Time is so relative when you are young, when your whole life is ahead of you like a distant mountain.  Only, there is no way to cross.

Joseph stared at the snow-covered mountain in front of him.  He stepped to the edge of the cliff.

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help?

The question kept repeating itself in his mind.  There had to be more, but he couldn’t think of how it went.  He just stared at the distant mountain and imagined Leila’s face.

He took another step with his right foot.  Suddenly his left leg gave way and he fell to the ground.

Reaching out, he grasped hold of a hitching post and pulled himself up.  He lay on the ground, heaving for breath.

Then the words came to him –  “My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.”

Joseph lay on the ground silently.  He looked up at the heavens and took a deep breath in.  Relieved.  Grieving, but grateful.

He climbed to his feet and walked back to his car.  He fumbled for the keys and started the engine.

Before pulling out, he looked over and noticed a tree near the cliff.

Its branches were nearly barren, but it was standing firm.

11 thoughts on “The Distant Mountain and the Barren Tree (a Blog Hop Story)

  1. Tony, this is wonderful. So sad and dark, yet the image of the barren tree standing firm is hopeful. I can definitely feel Joseph’s regret and the devastating loss associated with it. He’s mourning.

    Your writing is beautiful; though this is a fictional story it has a smooth, poetic feel to it. Nice job. I hope you enjoyed the Blog Hop exercise and will keep joining in. It’s a pleasure to read your work. 🙂

  2. Welcome, Tony, to the Wednesday Blog Hop Photo Prompt Flash Fiction Challenge (say that five times fast!). I, like yourself, stumbled upon this “fun little whimsy” and thought, “Why not?”
    Now, many weeks later, I am hopelessly addicted to the challenge of crafting under such confines.
    You, sir, seem to have no problems with that!
    Excellent piece. The bit regarding the relative time of youth, and the taking for granted of her love, was great, and so true. No one breathes who has not lost something or someone due to that specific youthful foolishness. The symbolism of dead tree for me was:”Within thee lies strength unknown.” Bravo.


  3. “He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.” These are powerful words (I’m assuming a quote from the Bible) and used in a way that enhances the drama in the story. I think most everyone has been in this situation or something similar where they needed the strength of another to help them through a trial—what one of my teachers called “a dark night of the soul.” People differ in what route they take at a time like that. But your story was moving and well crafted.

What Do You Think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s