by Brad Cole
It was evening while walking to a local trail that a young boy ran up to me and asked to follow. The sunlight had just dimmed behind a passing cloud and soft snow began to fall while we started walking down the path into the trees.
“I’m just going out to check some rabbit snares,” I said.
So he went with me down the rutted trail as we looked carefully at the various rabbit, squirrel and dog tracks that wound through the darkening winter woods. I gave him a snare so he could put one out for himself and then check on it later.
“You’ll need to find a good spot on a rabbit trail,” I said.
Suddenly the light snowfall stopped and blue sky was seen mixing with the gray clouds. Looking to the southwest the sun was a bright jewel in the sky sparkling like a splintered fountain of light shooting its rays past the dark, shadowy trees of the forest.
While I was looking for a lost snare, the boy set one up nearby for himself.
“Sometimes a dog will get the rabbit. All you will see is a bloody, furry spot in the snow. So make sure you check it daily,” I said looking to see if he was listening and then deciding to give up on finding the snare.
I could barely hear the wind blowing across the bouncing treetops. Sunlight was reflecting off the tiny frozen droplets of water that were clinging to the bottom of branches, creating sparkles of light within the forest.
“What are you going to do with the rabbit you get?” I asked while walking back toward the village. The boy looked at me but did not say much. That’s OK, I’m not much on talking either, I thought.
He seemed to be a smart kid but young and still needs to experience the nature of the world so he can better understand his place in it. Someday he will know of the journey where we struggle to leave behind the darkness of our lives. Where we seek to tame the fire within our souls so it grows into a healing force of light.
I knew we are getting close to the village when I saw the top of a telephone pole among the trees.
“I’ll see you later,” I said while stepping out on the road. The boy turned and started going his own way. The sun was dropping below the earth, the sky was darkening and the snowy wind grew colder. The rabbits must be curled up tightly in their warm underground dens, I thought.
Turning to see the final rays of the sun shoot up into the descending night, I felt a need to reach out to someone who was not there. Walking down the long dark road I thought of how we need shelter from the brutal darkness of the world, of how we take refuge in the things we love. Home is where the light is.