It’s empty and quiet, soundlessly silent.
Even my steps make no sound, giving no voice
To the ground beneath them, immovable yet violent.
I walk alone, on my own, for I have no choice.
The delicate, broken flakes swirled in the air about my head, spinning in dizzying flurries and whirls, each bit of snow racing the next to merge with the growing cover blanketing the ground. Billowing in front of me, my breath dispersed into the air, leading my way into the unknown of whatever lay ahead. The snow made no sound as I stepped forward, giving way easily as my bare foot sank, invisible as the frozen particles collapsed around it. I did not pause. Nor did I feel the cold. The icy bite of the wind didn’t bother me, focused as I was on merely keeping my feet moving forward. I knew not where I was going, simply that I must get there. It was always this way, always a never-ending search for some intangible feeling I could never name nor describe.
It flashes over me once more, pulling and grasping
Steering me onwards to a fate I do not want and cannot see.
I can neither scream nor call out, my breath wheezing and gasping.
I know naught but that death is there, waiting patiently for me.
My toes, my fingers, my arms, my heart… All of it is numb. I feel nothing, not even the everpresent pain. I do not know, I do not know, I do not know. The words repeat as a mantra, the syllables keeping pace with my movements, drawing me ever onwards. The snow shifts, revealing faces and gaping maws that threaten to steal my soul and drain what little warmth my body yet holds. I shake my head, my body, driving such thoughts away; I must continue. The forest on either side beckons me, trees leaning close to offer comforting shelter, limbs stretched out in askance, reaching for my hand. Stubbornly I struggle on, keeping to the narrow path I walk. I am not supposed to stray from it, yet the calm offered by those spread boughs tempts my swiftly failing body more than I care to admit. Ah, how it would feel. To simply lie down among the tangle of roots that squirrels and mice call home. To dig out a small space for me, burying my aching body until - like the frozen layer of fallen leaves and broken twigs - I disappear beneath the falling snow.
It is a lonely road I walk, no friends nor family accompany me
Peace is all I am searching for, not death, but a place to rest
I seek only a place belonging solely to me, a haven, a place to be free
Yet though it’s been offered, I still struggle on; my body weak yet my desire no less.
My breath pillows affront of me again, swift forms darting among the fog, dancing in the harsh moonlight lancing through the outstretched boughs hanging above me. I glance around, searching for more tangible figures, seeing none. I say that I am alone yet, in truth, I cannot tell. The falling snow erects a wall between me and anything that moves apart. It falls faster at times, mirroring my emotions and pain. Reflecting the turmoil and swirling storms roiling within my chest. I can feel it falling faster now, the agitation of the storm casting a filter of urgency upon the shifting, aimless movements of the branch-ends grasping at air mere inches above my head. I tug my threadbare coat closer to my shaking chest, ducking my head beneath their clutching fingers, trudging desperately on. I will continue this journey, ignoring thoughts of resignation, of pain, of loss, of heartache. I will continue along this path - my only hope - even if I must crawl forwards with determination my only companion and light.
My fingers ache with cold, my heart: with pain and loss
Yet still, I continue, seeking nothing yet knowing It is there
I am alone, the only one on this path, none have I come across
Yet I will never stop, for nothing in life is easy, nothing ever fair.
The snow never lifts, it never stops falling, drifting in piles against the trees, my legs, the rocks lining the path, anything and everything. Only the road ahead is clear. I say “clear” with a certain irony, yet it stands true all the same. A sudden wind picks up once more, pushing me forwards, thrusting my body to the ground. The snow that had been lying quietly along the forest floor spins into the air, coating the world in a delicate powder, even as the onslaught from the cruel sky continues. A groan escapes my mouth, the only sound in a muffled world. The icy air flows into my lungs, angrily trying to thrust the exclamation back down my throat. Even as it batters me, the wind caresses my face, softly whispered comforts spinning warmth back into my numb ears. I lie there among the snow-covered objects scattered across the forest path, simply another victim of the frozen element’s conquest. As I lie there, pain leached from my bones, leaving nothing a warm, dull ache. My mind screamed at my body to get up, yet there was no response; I was no longer in control of my fate. I could no longer keep my grip on consciousness, the space around me nothing but a flurry of pristine white, there was nothing to grasp onto. Ever so gently, the flakes piled upon my eyelids, pressing them closed effortlessly. There was a feeling of relief that came with letting go, releasing my hold on this desperate quest I had led. The storm seemed to howl with triumph as I at last acquiesced, relinquishing my final breath in a wispy nimbus that quickly faded to nothing, dispersing to join the tumultuous, raging sky.
I dreamt of nothing.
Not a lack of a dream, but a lack of substance.
There was no pain, no hurt, no loss, no suffering.
Simply darkness, nothing but a deep and gentle absence.
My body shuddered as the heavy blanket was stripped from it. A weathered hand, rough from years of work and toil, swept what remained of the downfall from my back and shoulders. Despite the quality and rough texture, his touch was gentle, careful, kind. My eyes still glued shut, I never got a glimpse of him. This stranger who saved me. I remember little about this man who played such a pivotal role in my life. The way he slung me onto his shoulders as though I were little more than a sack of potatoes, the curious lilt to his voice as he sang and walked, the words indistinguishable, in no language I had ever heard before. It was beautiful really. Even as I sit where I do now, humming those same tunes to my sleeping child, I revel in their loveliness and the peace they bring me. I lean over, whispering a quiet goodnight to my beautiful girl. Only seven, it was near impossible to explain to her what it felt like to be carried by Jesus. Not physically, of course, but it may as well have been. Ava was far too young to realize that were it not for the hand of the lord, her father would have stayed where he had fallen all those years ago. He would still be lying broken and beaten where life had thrown him when it decided it no longer wanted him. I shrugged helplessly, there was no other way to explain to her exactly what he had done for me without telling the same story I had been telling her on and off since the day she was born. There were different variations of it, of course, but the theme was always the same: I walked alone in a tempest seeking to bring me to my knees, and indeed, it had. I could never express to her exactly how much it had meant to me that he had helped me, lifting me when I thought I was completely alone. So for that, I owed him my life, my heart, my soul, everything I had and everything I would ever have. Her hair lay delicately on her forehead, a small smile crossing her lips as she dreamed of the man who saved her father’s life on a winter day oh so many years ago. I pressed my lips to her forehead, sending a prayer up towards my savior, asking for nothing, simply offering thanks for the life he had given me, the life I had once thought I didn’t want. I walked out the door, gently clicking the latch behind me, glancing back towards my daughter once more, love suffusing my being with a force I only ever felt when looking at her. As I walked towards my room, I couldn’t stop the smile that drew its way across my lips, my heart practically bursting with gratitude, faith, love, and boundlessly unending hope that swirled throughout my body, lifting my soul with the belief that with God, anything is possible.
Her eyes glow with life, bursting with boundless happiness,
I can do naught but love her, seeking to protect her from everything,
She is the reason I live the way I do, the reason for my choices
For her, I would cross the world, for her, I would do anything.
Jesus saved me from myself, from my hate and ignorance.
He gave me a second chance at life, a chance to live for her
He gave me a choice when I didn't deserve a chance
So I can do naught but live for her.
Author Notes: It's been a minute since I've written anything. So bear with me.