A Mid-winter morning grows from grey to bright in the snow spattered mountains. Where once indistinct shadows fogged the aspen groves now crisp lines stretch miles up the orange-on-white meadow like a sun dial.
Ron was born around here, around this time of year, but coldness never appealed to him the way it did to his older brothers. After less than a half night’s sleep bedded down in a rock strewn hollow—not as in the lee of the wind as he’d first thought—Ron hustled through the crust throwing plumes of snow-mist from his feet like a rail engine huffing steam. The sun would rise. Its warmth would blunt the knife of wind. And he’d be happy—happier.
Each couple of steps cycled the same thought: his arrival back in Camp-home. He probably show up from the east near as he could tell. He would walk through most of Camp-home before locating his mother’s tent. There would be some surprise at his arrival, but not too much, then one of his brothers, probably Dan because first-born Ton couldn’t appear ruffled, would ask, “Why did you not come by The Trail?”
They would all hang on his answer expecting a polite plausible palatable excuse. Instead he would answer in the only sensible way he could: “Why would I come by The Trail?”
In a another twenty strides the imaginary memory took the stage of his thoughts once more. He tried to rewrite the script. He tried to cobble an answer that wouldn’t keep him separate from his family. And he did, again, but his feet wouldn’t cooperate, wouldn’t turn toward the west, wouldn’t seek out The Trail. They kept barging a solitary path through the snow toward Camp-home.