- You’re in a forest.
- It’s the middle of the night.
- There’s a storm brewing.
- There’s a peaceful feel to the place.
I’m quite certain these are my footprints. I place my foot as a mate to the one in the snow. Yup, it’s mine. I think back and can’t recall if I’ve ever walked in a circle before. You might forgive me, it is the middle of the night, no moon, no starlight; and I’m sure the overcast clouds are brewing a foul weather stew.
Wandering in the dark through a foot of snow, one must admit, could be the result of a desperate search. Or a faulty mind. I cannot discount this last theory. I’ve tried. My faculties have assembled the facts, a sack of hard-won evidence but with a tear in its side; and one by one my nuggets of insight dribble out. If I’d used them as a crumb trail they might have afforded my salvation from the pending blizzard.
I chuckle at the thought, my pouch of clues hangs loose and empty. No matter, I think. The night is, so far, calm and pleasant, in a stiff and frozen sort of way. You could say I’m a born adapter. Baking desert, sweltering swamp, wind scoured tundra — if I found myself there I could, once upon a time, survive.
It’s cold tonight. If I could see my breath in this abysmal gray night, I’m sure my puffs of steam would freeze in shape: puppies, wizards and elephants drifting translucent up into the branches of the forest to split and fragment into tails and trunks and things.
I believe I’ll sit a while. Walking in a circle can be tiring. The snow is not so cold as to reach its icy fingers into my seat. I will admit though, my bum might already have gone numb. Which would be a blessing. Although a survivor, no one likes the feeling of frigid air, the penetrating grasp of winter, like reaching into the downstairs chest icebox and its fog of crystalline haze burgeoning to spill like spooky smoke onto the basement floor.
You’d think that the snow under any night sky would glow. I would have thought that. It seems that closing my eyes produces no difference; darkness either way. And closing them does keep them warmer.
And it’s funny, I’d have thought, too, that I would be colder by now. This one tree I’m leaning against does afford a nice backrest, its trunk leans just so. I’m sure it won’t matter if I spend a few more minutes out here, as peaceful as it is.
Hmm, I have a sinking sensation that I’ve read about such a situation before. No worries, I’ve left a wide trail of me wandering around, some scout or rescue must surely be on their way. I wonder if they’ll be following the circle I etched in the snow. I hope they bring hot cocoa…