In Lieu of a Direction Home

The wind spreads the snow all around the yard- my mind races in all directions, but no direction points towards her, no direction points home.

I finally close the blind, put on the boots, and walk out the door.

There’s wood to be chopped- heat to be gathered. I feel the axe through the gloves, slipping easy down, the weight of the tool does most of the work while I guide. While chopping I can hear a beat in my head, external to the act, but pacing it nevertheless.

I had already gathered all the fuel needed for a week when I saw the bird land on the porch railing. It looked at me suspiciously. I returned the sentiment.

“You alright there?”

It twitches its head down then right back up. That’s when I notice a shiver.

“Why haven’t you gone south yet?”

It shivers some more- almost saying “no”.

“That’s right, I don’t care much for the hot climates either. Let’s make you more comfortable.”

I take the knife out of my pocket and choose the driest piece of timber. I start carving out strands- almost shaves- of wood. I make a bed of kindling then add in fatter and fatter pieces. The final pieces resemble breadsticks.

I light the kindling with my lighter then light a cigarette from the fire. I’m looking towards the sunlight as the bird lands nearby. I inhale hot smoke and cold air into my lungs and exhale my small mark on this world.