I can’t help but watch the last frozen leaf curl backwards. It tapers a little before falling loose and drifting slowly to the floor: resting on the soft, white surface that blankets beneath the rising trees. I keep my eyes focused on the glistening orange leaf; I concentrate on the slight curves that cradle the edges: they pull away from me, revealing the darkened shade beneath; the same shade the trees make as the settling sun luminesces on the horizon.
I’m alone in the wood, with nothing but the sound of the winds and the gentle trickle the river makes as it slips in front of me. It’s made more beautiful by the settling notes of the snow drops, which all drift towards the ground at such an elated state. Warmth spreads on my chest as the crystals rain from the sky, like stars pictured on the night sky. The world is white and untouched, stilling my frame on this wooden bench.
I want to move, but despite the cold temperature, it’s somehow cosy here: wrapped in my jumper that’s two sizes too big, filled on the surface with multi-coloured patterns that almost look too lurid in this space. I look down at my body, stuffed up with odd bits of cloth, and ending at my feet. I let my soles press into the surface of the snow beneath me: it crackles like the sombre notes of a fire.
My hand raises a little as the sun finally picks at the corner of my vision: trails of solid starlight burst through the cracks in the trees. They split at odd patterns leaving the remnants to trace the floor in odd shapes. They pick at my body, lightening my red mittens and my harsh green overcoat. They fill me with a solemn sense of security; I focus on the stream and how the surfacing white laps at the side, melting a few of the flakes that try to escape its grasp.
I am alone in the woods, and it’s always like this when I think about death. It’s nicer out here, watching the world pass in it’s beautifully slow motion, and us, slowly falling apart. If I was going to kill myself, I’d probably take a load of pills as white as this snow. It would be blissful. Falling asleep under these trees. Hanging seems too painful, and a gun, if I could even get ahold of one, would be too messy. What if I miss? I’ve got a terrible aim, anyway.
I am alone in the woods, and it’s filling me with an odd beauty, like I am the last person in the world. I am the sole survivor of a nuclear holocaust, and this is the last thing I can see. It becomes all-consuming: trapped in this circle of trees, watching the light prisms and the wispy clouds settle overhead. And I can almost smell it: the harsh pricks of fire that burns in the distance; the sound of the world recognising my existence. It’s all I can imagine as I watch the branches grasp for each other.
And, somehow, I can’t fathom a world without this perfect harmony. I’m trapped in this resonating image, only able to wrap my numbing fingers into the folds of my jacket; only able to picture the gold and green tones that light my home.
I look back over at the wooden bench. The snow has already covered the soft patch that I left on its surface. Erased like the footsteps that I’ll leave behind when I vacate this place. But for now, I’ll admire the shimmering surface of the water; I’ll compliment this shade of white; I’ll watch as the sun turns the sky a wonderful mix of purple.
For now, I am alone in the woods.