Any Kind of Answer At All

Winter passes as winter does, in fits and starts of snow and cold, in the pages of one book after another, the cat dozing on my chest while I read in the evenings before bed, in early morning forays into the high-elevation hardwoods at the top of the mountain road. There I watch the sun rise through the leafless crowns of the maples and yellow birch and eventually over the snowed boughs of the spruce and fir, glad for the silence and the solitude and sometimes wondering how different my circumstances might be if it weren’t for snow and skis and cold and this big swath of land where I soon find myself beyond the range of human sound. Or of any human sign at all. It’s good to wonder these things, I think, at least from time-to-time, just as perhaps it’s good to wonder how to be of use in a world that spirals further and further out-of-control with every passing day. Though it’s true the answers don’t come easy; it’s true I envy those who have any sort of answer at all. Or who seem not to wonder in the first place.

In the evening, I read again. The cat dozes, and I doze with him, drifting in-and-out of my family’s murmured conversation, stars visible in the sky through the window above my head. In the morning, the boy and I rise before dawn; he leaves for work and I sit by the fire until I’ve sat by the fire long enough and then I head back to the woods where it’s always clear I know nothing more than the last time I came here, or the time before that. But also where knowing doesn’t seem to offer any kind of answer at all.