|Painting by David Bradshaw|
Wind whips across the frozen waters wailing like a wounded woman. Snow tears past me crashing into the great Seward Mountains rolling like a tidal wave back upon itself. I clutch my coat tighter around my trembling body.
I see a light. I think, it is a campfire realizing in the next instant that it cannot be real. No one would build a campfire in a blizzard.
I move onward. Behind the white curtain of snow, yellow flames flicker and like a moth to flame, I pull one foot at a time out of the sucking thigh-deep snow inching my way toward the image. Now, I can see that the light is coming through a window. My cold heart begins to thump. I try to hurry, but my lungs burn as I try to breathe. How long have I been walking? How did I get here?
Suddenly, I see it! It is a cabin set high on a knoll nestled among the cedars taunt with strain from the horrific winds that beat against my head tearing at my thin red scarf. "You will not kill me!" I shriek like a madwoman to the wind. I clutch my scarf to me. The wind lost this time.
I am still alive, but as I continue my slow trek up the knoll, I wonder why I keep falling. It is not such a big hill, yet my boots slide and now I am a reptile crawling on all fours. I see the door. I see the wooden handle made from the tree branch. I fall on my face. Icy needles poke into my skin. I move my head and stare at the light. I am so tired. I try to yell but there is no sound. I cannot move. I am so close. Please somebody. Snow races in like a thousand white vultures covering me. I am now one with the silent snow-covered landscape of the little cabin on the river (to be continued)