Old woman, Old man, Woods – Story


(Patterns… cabbage)

I was watching an art video on YouTube today and it reminded me (long story) that sometimes what other people hear in their heads isn’t what we thought we said. Many years ago I attended a course where one of the things we learned was how to listen to what was being said underneath the words that were being spoken. Anyway, I’m not sure I can explain it a few sentences (or maybe in many) and I’m not sure you want to read it so here’s a compromise, a short story….


(Patterns… Giants Causeway)

So… once upon a time there was an old woman. She lived in the woods, in a little stone cottage. She had been hurt in love when she was very young and went to live alone in the forest to make sure she didn’t get hurt again. She lived very simply and mostly she was content. Just sometimes she would have loved to have some company. Especially in the evening by the fire as she thought about her day or her week or her life in general.


(Patterns… garden seat)

Also at this once upon a time, time there was an old man who lived in the same forest, but a good distance away. He was a carpenter and loved being a carpenter and when he got older he saw no reason to stop being a carpenter so he continued to make things from wood in his workshop, in the shed. He had been happily married for years but three years ago his wife died. He missed her and talked to her most days as he worked.


(Patterns…  Altamont Gardens near Bunclody)

One day the old woman was going for a walk in the woods, she had a lot on her mind, took a wrong turn and ended up outside the old man’s workshop. It was a moment before she realised there was someone in the shed and the old man didn’t see her at all. So she remained silent and watched as he worked. And she thought, He must have been hurt too, poor man, he looks so sad. As if he heard her the old man suddenly looked up and said, Hello there, lovely day, isn’t it? Before she could reply, the old woman thought, Poor fellow, he’s trying to put a brave face on it, I’ll try to cheer him up.


(Patterns… Christmas snow and clothes pegs in Leeds)

Anyway, they got into conversation (as you do in these situations) and chatted away for about twenty minutes until (as happens in these situations) one or other of them made a move to carry on with their day. As the old woman walked back to her cottage, she thought, That poor man, it’s so sad. And back at the workshop the old man was telling his dead wife all about the lovely cheerful woman he had just met.


(Patterns… cobblestones in Hungary)

Sometimes I think we hear only what we know must be true, Mairead.