That it was winter seemed cliche, but there was no escaping that it happened now. The winter of a life, the cold getting incrementally deeper, to match the chill outside the pearly gray windows. The room, a life in microcosm.
It is said that clothes make the man, but in the case of some men it is words that mold and shape. Words, printed, scrawled, tucked away on notes and sticky paper. Books, some worn, some aged, most bearing marks of the man that they in part had made. Underlinings the trail of a mind on the hunt.
A mind descending into winter. The books, or most of them, can not follow. Failing hands could not carry what a fading mind will not be able to read. So those remaining in the fall make do, gathering what they can to hold on to memory and its progenitor.
In the light of the winter window, loving hands carefully sort and arrange the papers, the books, the verbosity of a mind that sought mastery in the depths of language. Loving hands made slow by the finality of a task they never wanted to perform. Knowing it must be done does not lessen the sting, but perhaps increases the power of the bittersweet. Collecting the books while wiping away the tears...
Slowly, carefully, the books are stacked and put away, some destined to follow the mind they helped make. Not all could or would make the journey; this is not possible. But the loving hands that caress the covers as they reminisce, also know that they can save some books for another. A noble fate? That is for posterity to decide. It is, however, a good one. While one mind may lose knowledge through the inevitable erosions of time...there are other minds who willingly and with great honor accept the gift of memory and presence.
With a faint smile through a veil of tears, loving hands lift a life in books, and hand the memories to other hearts grateful for the knowledge. Tribute is paid in acceptance.