ice crystals in the air
The Frozen Death of the Tundra
The pale yellow sun had barely broken through the ice crystals in the air as the boy slogged thru the tundra on legs which seemed heavier with every step he took. His arms hung by his side with no strength to wipe the ice from his frost-laden eyebrows. Icicles hung from the edge of his hood, hampering his sight. Frost, which seemed to surround him, had become a film of deception as all he saw danced and swirled, taunting him with graceful movements and its laughing voice. With head hung low he continued, one foot after the other, his unbending flesh fighting his every step.
Had there ever really been a soul in this frozen death; a living creature warm, welcoming. Would it have had the ability to speak hope to his heart; a spirit of life to point the way to life or a specter of death, laughing at the gullibility of such a weakened creature? He looked up at the blinding sea of snow. Waves and waves of white crystallized foam, billowing toward him in ever-increasing strength, sapping him of what little endurance he had left. Another surge of frozen suffering flew up in his eyes, blinding him, deterring him, daring him to defy the inevitable.
Walk, walk, walk; the steady drum of his heart; to follow its beat, instinctive. How long could his heart keep bending the will toward its destination? How long would it work as the compass moving him to a shelter of basic need? The hunger for warmth far outweighed his hunger for sustenance. His stomach even failed to pain him any longer feeling the hopelessness of longing and preferring instead to die in peace.
His mind, its roots in primordial fear, cried out in desperation but no sound came to his lips; just the silence, the never ending silence. What drove him on? Why not agree with all that fought against him? The veiled sun blinked painfully in the deepening shadows. There would be no help there. It too had betrayed and abandoned him. Was there nothing in this frozen hell to bring him hope?
He moved as in pace with the ancient turning of the earth. Alien and detached from earth’s primal blood yet driven to be a part of its life. A primitive ache from deep within the boy’s soul drew a thread of life from somewhere far beneath the frozen crust. The rumbles of the deep earth promising, a long awaited victory over the emotionless grip of ice.
Abruptly, all stood still. The boy stopped. He waited. A shred of life moved slowly thru his veins. Instinct called. He listened. He stood. The sun stood. The wind stood. Ice crystals fell to the ground; the wind had taken away its hand. The boy waited in the ever-deepening stillness.
A drift of foreign wind came sliding past his frozen senses. Again, it swung its tendrils about his face. His mind jolted from the tender impact; the essence foreign but not foe. A long forgotten pledge surfaced with the caressing of its silent fingers. He moved impassively to follow its leading; drawn by its gentle call. The boy lifted confused eyes and beheld a shadow of lengths.
Hope feebly lifted its head from deep in his breast. Move, to the shadows, there is safety in the shadows, was the instinctual call. The mystical form of familiar mist gathered around his shoulders holding him to his feet. Darker shadows, which held a star, formed on the earth; flickering, calling beckoning; pulling him deep within its mystery. The shadow loomed cavernous before him, the star lost in its depth. He could go no farther. His feet beseeched movement but he could move no more. His head fell forward and rested on the solid presence of the shadow.
The shadow opened its heart to the mystery of the star and blinded the boy in its sudden brightness and fierce warmth. He lifted his head. He blinked in recognition, his mind racing back to home. Before him, stood his mother with her hands on her hips, her lips pulled together in strong disapproval.
“Son, why must you always take so long to come home from school? The others have been home and done their chores? What am I to do with your imagination?” The boy blinked and smiled at the victorious outcome of his adventure.