Between the horns of the still lifeless head, the forest laid beautifully in its shades of green and tinted by the mingled flowers' coloures. My hands against the lungs of the creature ceased to move up and down as he reached the stillness of death. My soul that almost escaped my body in horror, grabbed pride and waved it at the face of the faceless crowd. It was my first trial alone.
I grabbed the stubborn head to where I camped, under the shadow of a thickly built Sycamore tree, surrounded by bushes and watched by birds' nests. From there I could hear the fast rolling stream as he moves away into its course and dip into the sea where I cease to feel or hear it playing about my senses. As I pulled the dead weight towards the camp, the sweat smearing my forehead, and a tiredness dizzying my brain, hearing my breath break into the silence, I felt as if I was part of it all. In that moment it was my home. A relationship between me and its unwavering essence was built, and ignorant to its strength, I lived under the cloud of my ignorance.
The fire in the midst of my littered luggage roared intensely against the trunk of the tree, creating a broken shadow to fall on its side. I looked at the dark eyes that reflected in its darkness the loneliness and coldness of the universe. I took out the set of knives I brought with me, and in the yellow light of the burning flame, they gleamed and turned gold. I felt dirty and hungry. I tied its hind legs to a rope that laced around a thick branch. I pulled the body up with the force of a man of nature, and it dangled to its weight and froze in the coldness. I headed to the stream feeling my sandy tongue begging for water.
I knelt, and passed my water cup into the stream, and I witnessed it being filled in instant. I gulped it down my throat, and feared that it might bring sickness into me. I stared away where the sun was being absorbed by the mountain tops, relishing upon the magic that played indifferently before my eyes.
I felt a tear climbing down my cheek. To you father! I screamed. And birds flew away in fright. I trudged back through the bushes and stared at the body of this young deer. Its size small due to its age, it was ideal for one man, enough for two, and it will cause some problems for a group more than four or five. I breathed deeply, then after remembering every step from previous camping trips, I skinned it, and threw what was inside but the liver and the heart.
In the cold, I threw a blanket around my shoulders, sipped the coffee and munched the tasty flesh. The coffee strong and the meat juicy made me smile to their taste. Feeling the edges of my blanket flapping to the weak wind, I knew that it would get worse, but I didn't care. This trip is for the soul, not the body.
An orchestra of sounds played around me. The stream far behind the bushes burbbled and splashed against the bulging rocks, the fire crackling in heat, a faint swish around my sides, the birds above my head making in their sleep some irregular sounds, and I sighed and enjoyed nature's taste in music. I laid my bedroll and stretched upon it. A sleepiness came over me, and I looked at the fire from the fog of an alien familiar world, then set away to a murdering slumber.
The morning came and the singing of the birds awakened in me the memories I have came here to honour. Though just three days ago I was bearing my father on my shoulder, a son taking his father to his final bed, I hurried to get away from the funeral, for I had a better way to preserve my father's image than to see him being left away to the dirt and aloness of the ground. I took out two eggs and fried them, heated some bread, and devoured them with the coffee. In nature, a man's stomach is always throbbing with hunger. It would feed even if the hunger is insensible.
I went to the river, drank some of its water in my metallic cup, that I just wiped, then continued my way crossing the deadly force of the stream. I walked to where a slope intensely soared into the sky. I climbed it with my my arms grabbing whatever there is to keep my body from the wicked laughter of gravity. As I reached its top, I stood straight staring at the placid dead landscape. A wind howled in the emptiness of its square, patches of tuft leaned to it. It sent a cold sense of solitude into me. It was empty, silent and alone. I felt a need to crumble, pass out, to die, to stop existing. The wind kept on howling, the landscape immersed in its ghostly silence, I felt that I, whatever that was, was caged in the body. I wanted to flee and in the emptiness to dwell.
I remembered my father, remembered his scent, remembered his shape as we stood here. I was kid of ten. He was a man of vigour and power. Some animals were grazing upon the green land. But it was warm, friendly, and filled with life. The sun sent its orange rays and soacked us in a tepid feeling of existence, that somehow through the beauty of the scene, life gave meaning to itself. But now, as I stand under the shadow of my loneliness, an undefined monster looked back at me, and I felt my minute self being drawn to its immense size and importance. I was in front of nature, my mother, my god! And through the physically impenetratable ground, an infinite power and space showed. And I fell to my knees and sent bawles and cries that faded in the immensity of the world around me.
I brought myself to stop. I knew that all that was happening was blows from the phantom of grief invoked by the nostalgia ingrained in the layers of this ground. In the far green of the landscape, some small dogs played and rolled in the grass. It must be that one of the farmers, from the village that was not that far from here, have came here wandering, maybe grazing his cattle. It was unusual to see farmers grazing their animals here, but not impossible. I walked away, descending carefully from the angry slope and going back to my camp.
I was alone, no one to speak to but myself and the memories I came here with. The fire have died, I ignited it with some dry leaves that crawled among the trees. I sat, took out a picture of my father I brought with me. I brought it here so I can put it somewhere and honour him. I know he'd be proud. In the picture he was expressionless, staring directly to my eyes. "I love you dad" I whispered to his ear.
My father had grey a beard, and some spectacles that rested on his piercing nose. His hair combed backward. The first traces of wrinkles were showing around his eyes that with time, as I have witnessed them, have lost their youthful lustre. His mouth thin and almost losing its colour to be defeated by the greyness of age. In the latter part of his life, a year or so, he became really sick and couldn't visit wilderness as he wished to do.
He once said to me, that if death ever granted him a wish, he'd probably ask it to reap his soul away around the fire camp, in the jungle, so that his last moment would be of joy. I guess death is never generous enough to grant wishes.
The day was getting colder and lonelier, as time helped my consciousness to digest the death of a dear. Days went away and I hunted one deer after the other. At first I thought that I needed to hunt another one for food, but then I couldn't really stop. It became a leisure activity. Time passed and snow fell. My mother must be worried by now. I forgot to tell them, or maybe I didn't want to.
The snow became strong and I wondered what exactly brought me here, and what made me stay. My father's picture almost got away from me. It got driven away by wind when I was alertly trying to put the fire back on. I ran after it, and dived in a heap of snow to get it. I wore every piece of cloth I brought with me.
The water from the river was too cold for me to drink directly. I heated it, and drank it feeling my bowls getting warmer.
Days piled on themselves, one on the top of the other, nights and days blending in the sky. After reaching the twenieth day, the counting was disturbed, and I was forever lost in time.
One morning, after who knows how many days since I lost track of time, I wandered away from the river. My hands kept on slipping away from the slop, then in a sudden movement, I took hold of a rock. I pushed myself up and climbed to the top. The landscape dead and cold. The wind howled and everything drowned in whiteness. Far away, the tree tops white against the grey sky made me want to walk to the village that was near this remote land. But even in its nearness, it was far, and I didn't know if I'd make it. I hesitated then went back to the camp.
After days, I ran out of food, and there was no animal to kill. The ones I killed rotted and vanished out of sight. In desperation I got to my feet and trudged through snow, with the gray clouds of smoke of the village's chimneys in mind. I took whatever there is I can hold on my back, and made my way through the thick heavy snow.
This time I climbed the slop quite easily, almost spontaneously. My breath almost clouded my eyes as it rose to join the sky's clouds. I kept on shivering to the freezing weather as my legs went through the thickness of snow. I walked, and in moments I saw in the cracks of reality death reaching for me, for my body, and I bent my head down and kept on walking. In a mind exempt from time, I reached to the other end of the landscape. It thrust up straight in the bitter air. I gave a cough and climbed it the way you climb the familiar stairs of your home, blindly. I came to its top and a being composed of trees loomed in a blure of falling snow. I was shaking.
Was it the end? Maybe when the person who gave you life passes away, following him is the best honour. I fell down at the dawn of the woods, I was really tired. My legs defied my will, and they laid numbly upon the whitened ground. Beyond the cover of trunks that stood before me, there was the landscape taken by a blizzard. Was I alone here? Was anyone else around, dying as I? I crawled away from that cold hell, and got more and more into the core of the woods. I knew that there's no way for me to get to the village, I'll die here. I gave a cough, and turned my head to the ground. My weariness rooted itself deep inside of me, and I became paralyzed. Maybe if I sleep, I can wake up, and continue this journey of hopeless shades. And before making the decision, my world was wrecked into darkness.
Feeling my throat squeeze and jerk dryly, I crawled up and stood leaning on a tree. I breathed heavily and walked supported by the trees for a while before my legs got back to work. The snow in the forest wasn't as thick, but thick enough to make you muscles shrink with exhaustion. It was dark, and in the chilly night the devils watched my body move away from them. I don't know how much it took me to fall again, but I did, and when I did everything whirled away into nothingness. The shapes around me faded and melted as my consciousness's flame died to a faint light of life against the dismal intrusions of darkness. It was a bear, what my eyes have seen! I saw it getting closer to me, and in my ineptitude and weakness, I welcomed it. My body shaking with every breath. I was slowly seeing the blood, the entrails pouring out of my abdomen, my head spinning back to the gripping arms of the landscape.
"Not quite son."
"Father! I missed you father!"
Giggling came from the shadow with an eye shining from a dangling object.
"You are out. Come here. I got some food with me. You look like you need it"
"No father, thank you"
"Trust me, your face is more honest than your words"
"I got your picture with me, father!"
"I ain't your father! Get a grip. Eat this loaf of bread. It might bring your sanity back"
I could't find the picture. It must have fallen from my pocket. I put it there I'm sure.
"I can't find it!"
I couldn't resist as he driven me away from my feet. I passed out. My final thought vaporized in the foggy image of the world before darkness
We can't go! The picture is back there!