The hermit was as old as the maple, under which he sat; and his rangy physique was as infirm as its leaves, which kissed the earth every fall. He sat under the maple, his shadow subsumed into the shadow of the aged tree; gazing at a sky lit by stars. His umber crook rested by his side like a loyal escort; without it his drooping body wouldn’t have carried far, anyway. His body had begun to fade, and when he looked back in time all he saw was a waggish youth ruining his life all by himself; he was old now and understood how important those years of his life were and how he’d wasted them.
But the old age had brought the man something more than just paltry regret, it had brought him wisdom; wisdom born out of experience and an eagerness to learn. He’d sit under the old maple everyday goggling at the stars, then he’d retire to his modest shack, where he’d draw the shapes he’d seen the stars make and would write about them.
One day when he woke up, he found it was difficult for him to stand anymore; he tried to reach for his crook, but fell on the nearby cot instead. He breathed heavily, looking from the corner of his eyes, at his book about stars that lay open on the pine desk.
A look at his book and the hermit’s face lit with smile. It wasn’t a joyous smile not a sad one too; it was just a smile, a peaceful one.
He had wasted a lot of time tempted by the valor of roguish youth, but as he neared the end of his life, he did what he loved the most; he became a part of a sky full of stars.