Not a really awkward silence, not like when you feel you’re going to implode if you don’t say something to fill the void.
No, this quiet is more like that of deep sleep, of something still there, but unaware of your presence, it’s a feeling that makes you want to whisper.
The logs I’m sitting on groan as I move around, sending little bits of snow spiralling from the tree tops to settle around me.
You might be wondering where I am. Well, I’m at my tree fort, located in the woods behind our house.
I came upon the location by chance during one of my walks back when we first moved here. The framework of the fort was already there. It consisted of dead trees, killed in a forest fire long ago, that had fallen together in the shape of a tepee.
Over the years, I’ve added to the structure and expanded around it.
Right now, I’m sitting in a log hammock that I made, close to the entrance of the fort. The hammock hangs several metres above the ground and I need to scamper up a log to reach it.
This is one of my most favourite places on the farm.
I hear Chance, our dog, snuffling around in the snow beneath me. He almost always accompanies me when I come here.
As I look up, I notice that almost the entire forest around me is in shade, all except for the treetops. With their tops coated in ice crystals they shine and sparkle in the sun. It almost feels warm.
My hands are starting to go numb from cold so I stand up, looking around me. As I look to my left, I see my walkway to nowhere. This was a project that I started last summer, thinking I could create pathways in the treetops so that I wouldn’t have to bother climbing over all of the dead trees that lie across the forest floor.
So far, the walkway to nowhere spans only two trees and it’s a bit rickety, but I think it’s fairly sturdy for only having baling twine keeping it together.
My thoughts are distracted by the sound of an airplane flying in the distance. Sometimes, when it’s really quiet, I can even hear vehicles on the highway across the river.
I jump down from the hammock and land with a thump on the ground, not graceful in any sense of the word. Chance comes over and sniffs my hand before continuing on in the direction of some interesting new scent.
My face is starting to go numb as well so I’m going back to the house.
Chance, seeing that we were going somewhere, bounds ahead of me, snaps a large twig up from the ground and bounds back, proudly displaying his prize.
I think that this might be Chance’s favourite place to hang out, too.
Until the next time …
Graham Rudge can be contacted at [email protected]