Friday, December 07, 2007
(First in a series of vignettes exploring the basic needs of human life.)
Frost mist poured into the valley during the night. In the darkness, sleet sizzled in wave after wave. It illuminated the ground, especially the low places. But as we slept, the southern winds reached north, and the ice melted into rain.
I waited for dawn in the forest that morning, my breaths puffs of fog. Drops pattered on the fallen leaves. A squirrel rummaged in the glistening colors without a sound.
When the cold chewed through the length of my bones, I rose on stiff legs and began to walk the trails. A flock of turkeys pushed ahead. Their necks swayed as they ran.
And still the rain came.
I couldn't feel the wet anymore, or the cemented clothes. Just weight. My strides straining to lift my feet off the ground.
Up the slope.
The exertion became embers, became heat, became steam billowing up my back. Sharp breaths turned raspy. Raw cold cracked my throat.
The ground leveled, and my pace quickened along the cabin walkway stones. Inside, I unzipped the hours of rain as lazy flames rolled in the woodstove. A tinge of bitter smoke spiced the air.
The children played while I rested. A warm leg, then a soft hand nestled close under the blanket. Outside the window, the crisp light shined grey.
I touched the paneled wall. It was dry and warmed by the fire.
So different. Here versus there. Only inches apart.
Nothing but wood frame.
Nails. A wall.
How easily we create worlds.
And outside realities fall.