The Clearing


I am not exactly sure how I got here. I'm standing in the middle of a snowy field, surrounded by bare-branched trees. Looking down, I can see the snow around me was recently disturbed, a month's worth of turbulence marring the otherwise pristine surface. There is not a level surface left.

I look up and notice, though I am sure they were not there before, a sea of snow sculptures. Fascinated, I start to wander among them. Some are simple, mere lumpy mounds. Some are complex, near-perfect models of the watching trees. Some are practical, making stairs or jumps, while others are abstract. Some are even holes dug in the snow, inverse sculptures. The majority are snowmen, with varying degrees of detail. So many of these I encounter that I decide to make a game. Whenever I get to one of these I turn in the opposite direction and walk away, wherever that takes me.

I do this for an unknown amount of time and eventually wend my way to the clearing's edge. Here, the trees force a change in perspective. What is true in the clearing is not necessarily true outside. I stand, looking in, for a long while. It is interesting how the field's chaos overwhelms the eye, shifting to a dirty white noise.

Breathing in sharply, I take a step backwards. A single thin tree branch obscures my view. Curious, I turn my head to the side and a ray of polarized sunlight blinds me. When my vision returns, I carefully take another step backwards and more tree branches come into view. Each creates a new pane, a new set of fractal eyes to look through. I take another step, and another. Soon, I am sprinting backwards through the trees, watching as the clearing disappears asymptotically in a shrinking kaleidoscope of light.

Eventually, I can no longer see the clearing. Deep in the forest, there is barely any snow, and the sunlight filters through the tree branches. Here, I stop and look around. Turning slowly, I see that in all directions trees loom. I pause again, then begin walking back. Splotches of light wink into existence again, but I remain composed. Stopping at the clearing's edge, I am now ready to add my own sculpture to the menagerie. I trudge through the littered field, looking for any opening. None presents itself.

Everywhere I look, there are tracks on the ground, so I make tracks in the air and sculpt the sky.

walking into winterland II by by Lars van de Goor (source image)

Clearing by shoofle

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