Retreat Hell!

Wrapped in wool blankets, soft and warm,
Next to the stove, running smooth,
Two candles, one there, one over on the small table,
Enfolded by black and white checkered cloth,
Covered with books, momentoes, familiars,
An old cigar box,
Straw basket filled with papers,
A picture of my sister leaning against a book I've had for 35 years,
In front, a small mahogony box with sliding lid;
Lost in the Tableau,
Surrounded by trees through the windows,
Freight train of a stream roaring steady in the gulley a rock's throw away,
Days drift into nights, drift into days;
More coffee, they'll come, the right thoughts, the ones that don't walk life all over again, again, only different now, because gone, the I-can't-believe-I-did-thats, opportunities missed, love uncared for;
The stove breathed effortlessly, warmth, a bubble of heat in a cold, damp forest,
Time stretches out, when you have time,
Memories like muscles relaxing, thawing, decompressing, from society's call to Immediacy;
Deftly tearing the tissue apart, layer by layer,
Gingerly separating the fragile fibers of yesteryear,
To see what's underneath, what's behind, what calls to be shed light;
Nature calls too,
Outside in the woods, crisp and soggy air,
Enveloping the skin, then bones, probed without remorse, demanding contact, in the here and now, a respite,
Quiet, quiet, then -
A jackhammer carpenter, working nearby, ..., silence,
Through the woods I go, in search, in search,
All is still, not a breeze, not a leaf remains to stir the air,
I stop, dead still, hands in pockets, gaze to the moss-covered sticks and twigs and leaves and grass and dirt,
The undertow doth pull me close again
Dark and solid, purpose and demand, wake up, look at me,
To my left and up a bit, not twenty feet, the carpenter,
Red of head, infinitely black in texture and soul,
A foot or more from tail feather to Roman Crest,
All business, no time to shilly-shally,
Springing without wings, leaping up as though down,
Who knocks with such intention, such vigor at my solitude?
Bemused, a glance away at thought's insistence,
Silence, Oh no!
Quickly up, and up, to nothingness,
The Red Head be not, all is bare and worn,
Deep rutted holes to mark his passing,
Worn and rotted, empty of all life, waiting to fall to winter's wind;
Where did you go Red Head?
Dead wood picked clean, time to move on?

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