adventures at the end of the world
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Stories

Gathering Wood

The sky is blue and nubby with clouds. The soggy, crocus-flecked grass is springy like a new mattress. The budded limbs of the maple and larch toss in a lively wind. Life and debt hang in the balance of these phone exchanges, but nevertheless, I hang up mid-sentence, pull on my rubber boots, and go outside to gather wood.

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End of March

The hard part comes toward the end of March, when warming temperatures and sunny days have begun to shrink the snowpack. The delicate powder turns to wet cement, turning the shovel sessions from a bracing workout into a chain-gang slog. The paths are treacherous--no longer are you a child floundering hilariously, but a senior citizen trudging feebly, your knees and ankles perilous of a slip. The only thing that gets me through this madness is knowing that it betokens spring. 

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Chelsea BattenComment
The First Fire

You can see it on their faces tonight, as they stand around the fire in the snow. Even before that, you could hear it in their voices as they called down from the top of the ridge, see it in their eager skidding down through the high-piled drifts. By the time they threaded their way through the trails Bryan carved out (with an axe last fall, with a shovel these past months), and came to a stop at the leaning tamarack that points like a ship's prow toward the horizon, they were in love.

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