Saved and Lost

December 29, 2012
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Lashing limbs whipped cheeks as they raced through the wood. Chests and arms quickly accumulated irritating scratches as they pushed the thorns out of their way. Fear coursed through veins as hearts beat to chaotic rhythm. A graceful snow fell gradually, obscuring surroundings and subduing the noisy wildlife. Thick boots thumped in unison like drums and shallow breaths wheezed like a poor flute. Owls hooted, and a single howl coursed through the forest under the new moon.
But the resonance of nature went unnoticed to them; profligate problems and tumultuous thoughts muffled ears and stifled senses better than any amount of snow could. Until basic human need slowed them, forcing ears to unplug and thoughts to the present. Subtle ripples of a small stream cut through the animal’s chorus like fear through hearts. Speed quickened once more as they rushed toward the life-sustaining water.
Nestled among the boulders of a long forgotten avalanche a brook seeped forth and oozed down the shallow hill like blood from a small gash. Here they made camp to await the neighboring dawn to arrive in its façade of hope and health. Here, voices were heard by every organism for the first time in many generations.

“You saved-”
“Lazarus, stop. I’m in as hard a place as you now.”
“Why’d you do it?”
“Because…because it was the right thing to do.”
“We’re gonna die, you are gonna die for what felt right?”
“Yeah. Well we might not die? We can do this, just a bit farther north.”
“We all die in the end; ours might just be closer than you think.”
“But it is not this day.”
“Sure William. William, I’m scared.”
“About what?”
“Scared about what’ll happen to us now that we’ve escaped, know that you’ve freed me.”
“Well, you’re not free yet.”
Silence. Hands shook and shoulders shivered as the dark of night washed over them, much faster than the brook’s flow. No moon shown for light and no fire for warmth, the frigid evening attacked. Bashing and bludgeoning with its harsh winter winds and flailing with hail, the two men could do nothing to escape the assault. They sat and endured, knowing that the morning would appear with little reprieve.
And when the sun finally broke over the frozen horizon it fell on two motionless piles, sitting near a frozen brook. Two snow covered mounds that blended well with the stack of boulders; two piles that had erupted from the night and stayed for an eternity.

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