He loved this place.
It was, to him, the epitome of a country churchyard. Ancient, gnarled trees stood silent sentry duty around the small cemetery; nestled in the protective lee of the old church. To him, it was as if the graveyard was somehow impervious to change - as if Old Man Time himself, having rested here on this very bench, and sensing the atmosphere of peace and tranquility that pervaded the serried ranks of worn headstones, had decided to pass on by, leaving it unmolested; a final resting place for when he finally made his way back, at the end of all things. And, when all was said and done, he thought, what better place was there in which to sleep, and wait for eternity to end, than here?
He slowly raised tired and rheumy eyes, and gazed around, taking in the familiar images; trees he had climbed as a child; walls he had scaled - pretending they were high castle ramparts concealing hordes of evil-doers. And, on the other side, Maid Marion, his Marion - waiting to be rescued from the clutches of the wicked sheriff. His vision misted, as images of a long-vanished past performed before him.
In the distance, beyond the gaunt, stone walls of the church that belied the welcoming balm to be had within, he heard distantly, the contented gurgle of water, as the river played catch-as-catch-can with the stones and pebbles that littered its path.
He closed his eyes, and wondered whether children still fished and played around those shallow waters.