He’s crouched, bent over the fire, prodding at the logs, rearranging them not as play, but with a method. Satisfied, he turns and grabs another, his palm wrapped around it in the split second before it’s set on top. He watches the fire lick at it for a moment then sits back and looks off.
The sun hasn’t set yet and it plays on his features, carving lines along his jawbone, his eyes, his nose. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that he knew this. And really you don’t know anything, so maybe he does.
But he just keeps looking off, his body relaxed but ready, the smell of smoke gathering on him and hanging in drapes.
I don’t know why people are so often reminded of winter when they meet him. There is nothing about winter for me in this scene. I can think of nothing but summer – not “summer” as in mid-summer, with all of its bloated extroversion, but early summer, even late spring, when you go outside for the first good night and set a fire amid the trees.
This is not a fireplace. On that, as I understand, most people can agree. And so how they can see that this smoke is from the great outdoors and still believe it comes from winter is beyond me.
The smell of wood is thick in the air – the logs he just split; the trees that yielded to him. He could have all of this, probably, if he wanted; it’s already his, which is probably why he doesn’t take more.
He’s just opened a new beer and maybe he’s had some; if he did, you missed it. And he’s looking off and drinking in his domain, playing his eyes gently over the crests of distant mountains.
He could be a poet when he’s not out here. Maybe he’s only a poet when he is.
That’s his own choice of beer but his daddy’s old knife, encased in leather on the side of his hip.