This afternoon, in an unremarkable corner of the world, a long partnership came to an end. I cannot say when it started, but I am sure that it had endured for many years. The players in this pairing each bear scars and marks that illustrate a long, unspoken history.
I only came to know this partnership very near the end, as the last of a long line of third parties that have joined a team of two, inseparable for so many years. Even in my brief connection to the others, I came to take them for granted. With the sturdiness of good wood and the durability of iron, they never complained and they never boasted, but they were always there and they always performed. Until today.
I had been digging a garden bed and I hadn’t noticed the split. It would have started as a very small tear, possibly months ago, but suddenly it was wide open, forming a new shape, like the head of a spear. As my foot fell to the side of the shovel, this new apex ripped through the leather of my boot and stuck fast. I suffered no damage, but this was the last desperate cry of a shovel who’s time had come.
The handle may go on, but the blade cannot. I quietly detached one from the other and left them alone for a few minutes, in a silent farewell. As the shadows lengthened across my garden bed, the sun set on a fine affiliation that had achieved much.