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Jasper's Mountain

Rachel Saylor

I have decided to write a story that will build on itself weekly, on my blog. This will be a raw work in progress and I hope the evolution of it will create something intriguing if not perfected. I am excited and nervous to be trying out this approach to writing a story. I hope you enjoy following along. As always, I would love to hear feedback from you if you so desire to give it. 

Lead me down to the green, lush pasture. To the clear, cold, steady creek. There will I lay my woes. There will I find peace as I stretch my wasted body on the grass and dip my fingers into that which gives life. Then will I find rest.

These are the words Jasper repeats over and over again in his head. This is what keeps him moving and breathing. As he exhales, his breath castes a ghost out into the open mountain air. His moustache is frozen with snot that continuously seeps out of his nose and clings to his coarse hair.    

Spring is approaching, yet the snow continues to drift down, one by one, like silent parachuting soldiers. The land appears desolate with bare, leafless trees, pale white skies and deafening silence, interrupted only by his footsteps or those of an unexpected animal.

He sweeps his eyes across the snow covered ground in search of any game to be killed for dinner. Two birds fly off of a tree and chirp their way through the open plain in search of food. His eyes follow them until they fly out of sight.

What beauty there is to feast my eyes upon even in the midst of such a desolate, isolated, cold winter. My hands have been numb for these past six months and await for the day they will be thawed and returned to life. Yet, they continue to work and kill and create. I am tired and ready to rest.

Jasper gives up on hunting today and checks his traps he put out earlier. There, in his traps, he finds two rabbits. The rest of the empty traps are left untouched in hopes of catching small animals at another time. For this is life for Jasper; the constant search and need for sustenance to survive in these barren mountains.  After tying the rabbits up, he slings them over his shoulder opposite of the one that carries his shotgun and begins his trek home.

One step at a time he moves through the snow with his eyes set straight ahead towards his path. An hour later, Jasper arrives home with the last rays of the sun in the sky. He looks up into the sky before entering his cabin and shuts his eyes for a brief moment and inhales deeply through his chapped, parted lips. As he slowly opens his piercing blue eyes, a tear escapes and rolls down his cheek.

I am tired.

Kicking his boots on the side of the cabin, against the weathered wood, he leaves behind the day’s wanderings full of snow, thick mud and dissatisfaction in hopes for a break in routine that may come tomorrow or the next day.