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Three Candles

When Day is Done

If the page blurs, as it may do if you were ever a child and if you have been tempered in the cruel furnace of the years, maybe the mists that fill the eyes will bathe the soul of you in their hallowed flood until the world-ache is soothed, and you can start up the big road again with some of the same wonderful exultation that sped you onward and forward in the Long Ago . . . One touch of that, and the burden of Today, grown great in the years of struggle, slips from your shoulders as lightly as the wild-rose petal drops upon the bosom of the stream and floats away to the music of the riffles.

Only a strong man can go back over the Old Road to the beginning-point - facing the memories that throng the path - meeting the surging emotions that sweep away all our carefully-laid defenses - braving the grim spectre that puts the white seal of age upon our heads.

Once more, in the cool of the late twilight, we'll sit with chin in hand on grandfather's front steps and watch the stars come out . . . and hear the loon calling weirdly across the water . . . and catch the perfume of the lilacs and narcissus from the garden . . . and gather at grandmother's knee to feel her soft fingers in our curls and hear her bedtime story. Half asleep, but ever reluctant, we will trudge stumblingly to the little room with its deep feather bed, and get into our red-flannel nightie. Down on our knees, with our face in the soft edges of the mattress and tiny hands uplifted, we will say our prayers, and end them in the same old way: "God bless father and mother, and grandfather and grandmother . . . and ev-ery-body . . . else in . . . the . . . world . . amen . . . " and feel those strong mother-arms lifting our sleepy form into the downy depths!

Never until now have we known the reality of the boy-days, or paused to receive their hallowed touch.

Grandfather and grandmother, and the garden, and the river, and the song of the robin in the appletree, and all the myriad experiences of the boy-time, are glorified now as never before. In the halcyon Then they were but incidents of the day; in the mellowed Now we learn the truth of them, and catch their wondrous meaning.

The flower blossoms are gleaming as colorful and fragrant today as they did in the Long Ago. The bird-songs are as tuneful now as they were then. The sun is shining just as golden and as genial this moment as it did when we sat on the beams of the mill-race and felt on our faces the spray of tumbling waters sun-warmed in the air.

We need only open our hearts and let the sunshine in!

And Youth and Age, blended and rejoicing, will go hand in hand along the path of life to its far goal bestowing upon us all the freshness of the dew-damp morning, all the vigor of the strenuous noon, and all the peace and calm assurance of the star-lit night.

Green Hourglass

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