A Short Winter Story
His conversations with them are secure in the night. Far too late, far too cold for other eyes and ears to take notice, he’s always alone when the deer come walking out of the forest. The large doe, matriarch of the small herd, stops just at the edge of the trees, her eyes locked upon his still form, her ears pointed and searching. The glow of the end of his cigarette illuminates his face for a moment and he turns his head slowly, away from the doe, and exhales quickly.
“I’m not going to bother you,” he says without looking in her direction, “you know that.”
She does know that. She knows his voice, his smell, the way the darkness of his winter coat bundled body will remain in the same patch of cleared snow behind the house. The yearlings behind her twitch and flick their tails impatiently. They know him, too. What they don’t know is why the old doe is so cautious. They don’t know yet know that such caution is how you get to be an old doe.
One hoof follows another and the thick coated deer step out of the forest and into the shadow filled backyard. They move silently just outside the tree line, noses rooting through the powdery snow to find the green holding stubborn or maybe a missed scrap of the pumpkin that the man had given them weeks earlier.
Soft orange light upon his face gives way to hands swollen from work pinching off the glowing ember. His eyes watch as it falls to the snow, clearing a small nest about it before succumbing to the cold. He coughs softly before turning toward the deer. They withhold attention to his actions, offering conditional trust instead. Their shadow forms move further along the treeline, noses still in search of whatever might be found. The man departs, in search of warmth, in search of sleep.
It has been forever since I’ve shared anything here, it has been forever since I shared anything that was personal. There is an inescapable urge to evaluate and ask oneself “what if…” at this time of the year and, like so many people, I find myself wondering at the future.
This year marks a solid shift in my work, one that I am not yet willing to reveal, but one that will see changes to what this site might be. And so I sit with this blog, wondering what might be, plugging a few words into it to see if perhaps this is a direction it might take in light of these coming changes.
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Throwing the Bones
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