So much undone

I took my time-travel machine to the late evening of May 19, 1864, and a camp sight in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. I stood behind a tree and saw the writer Nathaniel Hawthorn laying in his sleeping bag while the President of the United State Franklin Pierce sat by his side, holding his hand. Nathaniel was struggling to stay alive. Pierce was whispering what felt like words of comfort.

A twig snapped under my foot and Pierce said, “Who goes there?” I came out from the behind the tree and introduced myself. I asked if I could be of help. Pierce said, “Yes, please. Would you bring my friend Nathaniel comfort by kneading his feet?” I got down on the ground and and unfastened the bottom of the sleeping bag. I took Nathaniel’s right foot in my hands and began to rub the pads. The knots were thick under the callouses.

President Pierce said to Nathaniel, “You have lived a good life. There’s nothing more for you to do.” Nathaniel said, “Yet there remains a tremendous accumulation of things undone.” President Pierce said, “They remain until you are gone, and then are done away with the sweep of time.”

I moved on to the left foot of Nathaniel. I heard an owl in the distance. I love the sound of owls. I’ve never seen one though.

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