Winter's Ebb

by Pavel Cenkl

Splintered boards, subtly bowed beneath my weight atop a season’s snowpack, the log bridge nonetheless offers a moment’s respite before turning my skis west and down-slope towards home. The slant of light this late winter afternoon marches long shadows of birch, beech, and maple across the slopes of these low-slung hills. As my breath, labored from the climb, softens its cadence in time with the wind, my eyes travel up the trunks of darkening trees to a sky without end. No snow is left for boughs of spruce and fir and hemlock to slough and set some corvid kin alight – a depthless blue to draw one’s thoughts first up, then inward. I am reluctant to let winter go. But as hardwood shadows descend into violet harbingers of the coming evening, I turn my skis toward home and let the trail guide me – no fear of getting lost – and resign myself to a steady slide to spring.


Pavel Cenkl teaches literature and cultural studies at the smallest 4-year college in the U.S.