Monday, December 11, 2006

Nanowrimo #8

On the seventy-second day in the cabin the woman was outside picking grass for dinner. The man finished writing in his journal and put on his checkered hunter’s jacket to gather more wood for the ever-present fire. The winter had passed it’s peak sometime last month, but keeping the fire going each day was still a necessity, and, he imagined, would stay that way for at least another month and a half. After he had put on enough clothing to keep him warm in the forest for the next two hours that he would spend collecting wood, he took the sled from the corner and walked out the front door.

His path away from the cabin was already well worn into the snow. He knew his route well by now, and even enjoyed the solitary ritual of gathering loose timber. He kissed the Lady as he walked down the familiar path towards the woods, and checked the sky for clouds that might signal a fresh snowstorm. With the sky clear, he made his way into the forest. As he passed downed trees, he made a mental note of their location. He would walk for thirty minutes deeper into the forest, noting the deposits of wood, before retracing his steps back towards the cabin, piling the wood on the sled as he returned.

The final stretch of the Man’s route was an incline leading to a plateau raised twenty feet above the rest of the jungle of pines and snow. He would stop here and rest before embarking on his return journey to have some coffee from a thermos and enjoy the emptiness of the wood. When he reached the top of the hill and sat down on a stump that was once a great evergreen with at least two hundred years of life (and whose skeleton he had long ago harvested for the ancient timber) he found his thermos in his pocket. The Man poured himself a cup of warm coffee and thought about his new life without thinking about his previous life as a powerful man with an office overlooking the bay. Removing these things that he had known for so long – his home, his television, his linens, his car – changed little about how the Man went about day-to-day living but changed very dramatically the way that he thought about his own expectations. He no longer compared himself to his friends, for one thing. He was no longer waiting (always waiting, for what) for something foggy that never came into focus. He was no longer mired in anxiety over stakeholder confidence or his boss’s next paycheck. He tried not to think about this, however. The Man knew that he was happier but did not attempt to rationalize this happiness further for fear of the feeling leaving. Instead he sat on the aged stump and enjoyed the Ometeotl’ian duality of the warm coffee and the biting winter air before he returned to work.


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