The Writer

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The snow had started sometime in the night, soft and light at first, barely sticking.  It let the wind dance and swirl it around.  That kind of magical storm where it looks like the flakes are rising more than falling.  Then, before dawn, the snow grew heavier, the ice crystals jagged and gripping as it began to pile together.  The world was soon blanketed in white folds that despite the sharpness of the ice was soft.  It seemed to glow.  The world seemed to sigh with contentment.

…..

The writer who called himself Trent, sat back in his chair, stretching away from the keyboard to gaze out his office window.  The snow had covered the bottom quarter or so, partially blocking the view of his yard.  The flakes were still falling but not as hard or full as they had before dawn.  In the distance he could hear his children playing.  It sounded like they were getting ready to disturb the peace of the morning.  He wondered briefly if the snow was thick enough and wet enough to build a snowman and actually rose from his chair to get a better view outside.

Trent could feel the cold leaching through the double panes but it did not bother him.  His hands wrapped around a warm cup of coffee and he sipped almost lovingly at it.  His eyes still studied his yard.  If he watched long enough he would see his kids.  If he got back to work, he could wrap things up and go join them.  A smile touched his lips and he stayed where he was, knowing on this stormy morning things would slow down and stand still for a change.

The first of his children danced by his window.  Literally, she jumped and spun and tip-toed through the snow, a ballerina in boots and a parka.  Trent’s smile broadened.  The work called to him but he took another sip of coffee and stayed where he was.  The second child raced after the first, laughing and trying to catch her.  The rest came in a jumble, all intent upon reaching the dancer to, perhaps, tackle her into the snow?  Trent didn’t know and their games had taken them beyond his angle of the yard anyway.

Returning to his desk, he quickly read through the world he had begun to craft that morning.  Another sip of coffee, and then he placed his hands on the keyboard and let his mind and fingers get back to building.  A dancer, previously unimagined, entered his story to impart a bit of whimsy.  A storm became a pivotal moment, a reckoning, for the main characters.  It wasn’t a bad one, a tempest, but it forced them to huddle together and take time to think through who they were and what they needed.

Trent leaned back in his chair again and wrapped his hands once more around the coffee mug while his eyes darted here and there in his amassed words.  Did they make sense?  Did they convey the message he wanted?  Would they make the world a better place?  He hoped so.  He wished he could will it to be so.

Laughter from outside reached his ears and Trent glanced to the window.  His children were building a snowman and they were doing it right outside his office window.  It was a sad, misshapen thing.  The body spheres were barely sticking together.  One of the children had found some sticks that made it seem like the snowman was saluting the window.  And, his children had taken one of Trent’s favorite scarves for their project as well. They obviously thought it was the height of comedy because they could barely contain their laughter as they set about their task. 

Their mirth contagious, Trent allowed himself only a moment more to ponder the dancer in his story before he saved his work, and went to join them.   The dancer wasn’t just bit a whimsy after all.  She was the reason, the point, the everything of the story.

…..

As the day wore on the snow began to melt.  Slowly at first it grew thinner and then great chunks of it would collapse upon itself.  The river beneath funneled to the gutters and drain spouts.  The sun would shine before the day was out, making a brief but brilliant appearance before slipping beyond the western horizon.  And the world would sigh, once again, with contentment.  It had been another magical day, as they all were in the end.

….

This story was written for Trent Lewin (https://trentlewin.com/) who you really should be following and reading if you aren’t already. He is a fantastic writer and human. He called me out for my lack of writing… And maybe that’s just what I needed.

crunch

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The crunch under the board. The shifting, drifting, sliding. The crisp air plucking at my flesh. The warm sun battling back the chill. The clean air filling my lungs. The adrenaline surging through me.

Oh, how I long to be in my beloved mountains, with my beloved Queen, strapped to a piece of plastic and throwing myself off the sides of mountains.

i am home

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Batter, Ritter and the Minarets stand guard over the snow-covered landscape of the Eastern Sierra.  The aren’t the tallest peaks or even the most imposing, but those sorts of distinctions matter little to me.  In the winter they are hardly ever long from my sight as I snowboard the runs at Mammoth.  In the summer they are a familiar landmark I can use to pinpoint my location while wandering the trails of the backcountry.  Either way, summer or winter, when I see these famous towering rocks I know I am home.

winter morning battle

In the low pre-dawn light of the street lamps, it was the noise that caught my attention rather than the movement.  An unwanted early wind brought them to life and, crab-like, the sharp edges clacking and crackling, the dead leaves skittered across the chilled concrete.  My head snapped to the sound and it took a moment to find the culprit.  The tingle down my spine indicated my thoughts had drifted away from reality.

The breeze seemed too slight for animation, but then what could have sent the leaves stalking along my path?  There must have been a source, and my mind immediately saw the tiny devils hidden below the parched shells.  Their red eyes cut through the darkness and the distance and my pace quickened to get me safely away from their clutching gaze.  The wind thwarted my efforts and pushed my tormentors behind me in time to my steps.

I tracked their progress, despite the contorted pain of swiveling my head around, to ensure they did not catch me off guard.  They stayed at bay, but, regardless, I was still assaulted by the cold, dry, air that set my skin to crawling and ravished my hands in nips and bites.  I wrung them to fling the snapping demons from my exposed flesh, but nothing could shake them loose.  They had latched on completely, their fangs gnashing down to the bone.

A primal scream bubbled below the surface, and I longed to release it into the echoing alleyway and sprint wildly into the darkness.  I longed to free myself from the last tenuous hold of sanity and relinquish my thoughts and actions to the madness within.  The wind whispered urgencies to give in to my desire.  The shadows reached for me with welcoming embraces.  The stars laughed like always.

One truth kept me tethered, kept me from washing away to complete insanity, and allowed me to safely navigate the morning.  I have always abhorred the wind.  It is my greatest enemy, and I refused to let my nemesis win.  I let the dry demons feast on my hands and the devil leaves chase behind me and I strode forward refusing to deviate from my course.