Finishing my pipe and downing a couple cups of coffee, I head back in and slosh some water around in the mug and hang it on its nail above the sink. Grabbing the pot off the stove, I pour what’s left into my porcelain basin a wash up. Molded candle wax mixed with pine needles makes for a great soap bar. Even cleaned up I’m nothing to write home about, but you got to make do to do what it is that needs to be done.
With my woodsman beard brushed as well as it can be, hair tucked behind my ears, and yesterday’s clothes put back on I grab my walking stick finished from a knotty pine branch, very light yet strangely stout, and head for the door. Reaching the door, I turn and slip back to my bed and from underneath I pull out my revolver, can’t believe I nearly forgot that.
Sometimes the whiskey puts your mind three steps ahead instead of two steps back.
Back to the door again and flipping the latch I step outside and lock the antique padlock with the key I wear on a chain my dad gave me; my second family attachment. Not that the lock could withstand much abuse if anyone truly wanted in, but the mere appearance of it decorating the planked door is enough to keep most people out. And if it isn’t the intruder may never leave my home until I return; those damn dogs do have their ways of keeping an eye out for such events no matter how far off they wander. Makes one wonder.
Standing once again on my shy porch, I reach for the fox and beaver pelts hanging high on one of the oak cross beams.
I’ve got to keep them up high and out of reach of those damn dogs and any other pesky investigators that wish to secure them for themselves.
Peering from just inside the tree line the form of Joseph appears in the stranger’s eyes. He never notices; he thought to himself. Not once in all these weeks has he caught a glimpse of my goings on. He wonders if Joeseph could ever handle the truth that he carries for him? Surely someday he will notice, and our meeting will take place, but, he must take the first step.
Being bound by his mother’s words is a cage Joseph cannot escape. If only he would pay attention as much as those dogs do, I would have completed my task long ago. I’ve crept as close to confrontation as I will allow myself to. These thoughts burn inside my head like a hot branding iron, and I’m not sure how much longer I will last. After all, I have my plans to set into motion.
Oh, the day will come when everything will collide in one giant eruption. A move here, a push there, what a beautiful tapestry will I weave. Lasting impressions is all I have to offer this world and what a memory the others will have to cherish and hold years to come. That’s it Joseph, be on your way and enjoy the time you have left.
Pelts in my bag and a quick glance upwards at the growing daylight I start my journey to town, passing by the litter of scraps that the dogs have either decided to save for later or have chosen to ignore for whatever reason. My walk will carry me six miles away up and over two ridges and on one small trail that sees mostly the animals of the forest save for myself and the dogs.
It’s one of those trails that can play tricks on your mind in certain light, the kind of passage that always pops up in children’s fairytales as a warning to the youngsters to never stray too far off from the known. However, in the other kind of light it can be as enchanting as a painting that is never quite finished giving up its beauty. Right now, though, the light is somewhere in the middle of those two, quietly balanced on the decisive edge of time itself. A strange time to see the forest as it is deciding its day’s mood. Deciding rather it should show its weaknesses or jump forward and lash onto whomever dares to cross into its territory. At this particular moment, the coin has been tossed and is still flipping its way through the cool air and which side it lands nobody can ever know until you venture into her canopy of whispering reaches.
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