I paused in my trudge through the fresh snow. I had walked this path through the woods every day lately, but it was today that I stopped. The sun still early in its rise up into the wintery, clear blue sky. The way the sun beams shot out from behind the dark green evergreen of the trees branches, like shafts of diamonds. These diamonds reflected back in a million different ways from the glistening snow, stars against a white backdrop of the forest floor.
I pulled the thick wool coat tighter around my cold body, puffs of white cloud escaping from between my dry lips and lingering in front of my face for a minute before disappearing. I rubbed my gloved hands together in an attempt to feel the end of my own fingers, the cold of the morning had quickly seeped to the very bones of me in the short time of standing in the shade of the evergreen tree.
I resumed my march through the white carpeted forest, the only other footsteps that had come before me were the prints of small birds and animal paws bouncing through the snow.
All the sounds I would normally hear on my daily walk were dampened to almost silence, except the loud crunching of the icy snow under my boots and my own harsh breaths as I struggled to keep pace. The chill of the morning air making my breathing even more laboured than normal. But it did make me feel more than any other day. On a day like this you could not help but feel the purity being taken in, renewing and invigorating.
I had not felt invigorated in a long while.
As I made for the clearing in the woods where there would be a proud stone building of a church, the trees ringed its perimeter like sentinels, keeping their ever vigilant guard. Even they today were dusted with a light blanket of fresh white snow. The church and graveyard, glinting in the light where it hit, dazzling.
I came to my destination, a small, old, wooden bench against the cold, grey stone wall of the church. The bench was not enjoying the bright sunlight yet. I cleared away the snow from the wood so my coat would not get wet, as I sat down with a heavy thump and groan.
I rested for a moment, in the shadow of the church. The shade was moving slowly as the sun rose up higher into the sky. Soon it would bathe this side of the church in the warm light and the shadow would move around. Until then I would wait patiently.
I was alone, with only the few birds I could hear rustling in the bushes trying to find their breakfast. They did not interest me. I had come for one purpose and one purpose only.
The sun had finally made its way to the perfect point. Shining brightly on one of the more recent gravestones, which glinted and sparkled with snow and reflected diamonds, just like she had done when she had been with me.
Now as I took my cold toast out from my inside coat pocket and unwrapped the clingfilm, taking a bite and chewing slowly, my dentures working hard on the chewy toast. I felt the warm glow that I always had in my heart, when I could just sit and enjoy sharing a quiet meal with my wife, in an empty churchyard.
By E-A Jones