Blue Monday recalls travelling on a day when the hints of spring were beginning to appear, when snowdrops had started to bloom and the days had begun to stretch, at one point, deep in the countryside, there was a cottage at the roadside.
Curtainless windows and an unkempt garden suggested the home was uninhabited. Beside it, surrounded by long grass, stood a tractor. At some point, perhaps years past, someone had reversed that tractor into the place where it stood. Someone had stepped down from the driving seat, walked across the yard, and gone through the door of the house. Someone had finished their day’s work and had they sensed that there were no further such days?
What had happened after the final time that tractor had been driven? Had there been a sudden illness? Had someone died? If they had known there would be no more journeys, would they have parked there, or driven to the house of a neighbour? If they had known there would be no more journeys, would they have just parked the tractor and walked placidly to the door? The answers to such questions can only be imagined.
Perhaps the answer was something altogether than what might be imagined. Perhaps the farmer had retired and gone to live somewhere much more comfortable. Perhaps he had sold his few dozen acres for the hundreds of thousands the good land would have made and he had gone off to do all the things he had always wished to do.
Whatever the explanation for the abandoned tractor and the deserted house, there was a firm sense of finality. No-one would ever be climbing down from the driving seat, no-one would go into the house at the end of the day. Perhaps the house would again see residents, perhaps the garden would again be cultivated, perhaps even the tractor would find a vintage enthusiast who might restore it, but it would not be the former owner.
If we knew we were doing something for the very last time, driving a car, visiting a loved destination, going through a doorway, how would we feel?
Perhaps most of life is passed in the assumption that nothing is for the last time, that there will always be another opportunity, and then a day comes when there is the realisation that there will be no more chances. It is hard to imagine the thoughts of that tractor driver without feeling sadness.