Winter Shadows


She moved like a gypsy, her tent untethered, her shoes pointing north. And in her wake she left a trail of friendships, lovers, and mistakes. At the foot of a staggering mountainside, below the tree line which cut into the pure white powder, a fire burned; flames lapping in the wind. Clouds of icy snow plummeted off the shark teeth granite peaks lost in the grey sky. 

Alone in this winter paradise she prepared boiling pots of morning stew, her cast iron dutch oven baking a loaf of bread atop glowing orange coals. The steam from her cup mingled with the steam of her breath as her fingerless gloves clutched the hot mug of tea. Her steely blue eyes glanced over the single filed footprints which led to her camp. Boot sizes much too large to be mistaken as her own. 

The loneliness of her solitude broken by the crisp stamps in the snow which came, but did not leave and yet, around the burning warmth of the fire, not another soul wandered. She sipped her tea. The hot aroma of hibiscus and peppermint surrounded her auburn hair and infiltrated her lungs. With the ladle she set a place for two and waited for her visitor to show.