Shepherd’s Winter – Part 28


thNLX3S3XILonely Universe

The wind howled across the meadow like a pack of hungry wolves. Throughout the day and into the evening Shepherd listened to the radio drowning the evil sound. It was programming form Ft Worth or someplace; nothing relevant to the conditions outside the door.

In a light hearted moment Shepherd held a large wooden spoon to his mouth as if a microphone. “Well the conditions in the valley are bad. Ahem, ahem, very bad. They’re still bad and we don’t know when they’ll be getting better, but they’ll stay bad until they get better. Well that’s our live report.” Pensively he confessed. “It’s much harder than one thinks.”

“Well, let’s go to our man or dog on the street.” He walked over to Pal, bent down, and shoved the spoon in his face like a microphone. Pal licked it. “That’s your problem, Pal, you have no imagination. And Trap I’m not ever going to try to interview you. I can’t trust what will come out of your mouth. All those years hanging out with the pack being an alpha male, your speech is probably salty and unbridled. Some in our listening audience have sensitive ears and prudish ways.”

Shepherd rinsed the spoon at the kitchen sink by pouring water from pitcher over it. “Sorry, Pal, some of the things you do with that tongue…”

Shepherd’s mood turned serious as he heard the canvass that covered the wood shed flap like a beating drum.

Shepherd cracked the door and looked over the meadow. “No man could survive this,” Shepherd mumbled. He quickly shut the door. He retrieved an old blanket from the loft and stuffed it at the bottom of the door.

“There’s only one thing we can do boys,” Shepherd said to Pal and Trap, “Feed the fire and ride ‘er out.”

The snow pelted against the cabin like miniature meteorites from angry Inuit gods protesting the arrival of a man who does not belong. “Goooo baaaaack,” the angry wind seemed to say.

For three days there was no let up. At times the wind abated for a few minutes and then a burst was unleashed fiercer than anything previous. Pal and Trap took comfort being close to Shepherd as if they knew their existence was dependant on him.

There exist a feeling as if marooned on a far away planet light years from earth and human contact. It is like being alone and the only inhabitant of a far off galaxy forgotten by time. Within that little world called a cabin time does not exist, nothing lies beyond the doors. Shepherd imagined and felt as if he was alone in all the universe.

He thought of truth. All that existed beyond this cabin and wilderness was a lie. “Dogs don’t lie. With intellect comes deception. Anything that humans tamper with becomes a lie or a deliberate manipulation of nature.”

In time the coarseness and brutality of nature felt more like a shield from the world beyond.

Shepherd sat in his chair before the fire; on his right laid Pal and on his left was Trap. “We are safe here, boys, but I‘m afraid old Trap you will leave us when the time is right for you. You have been a good friend. If ever you are lonely, afraid, and hungry you‘ll know where to come.”



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