With every step his boots sank deep in the snow, and after every step he took his trail was quickly veiled. No trail of bread could lead him home, but home was not what he was looking for. He was looking for her. This was supposed to be their vacation into the winter wonderland. He got to the cabin early and she was supposed to be there the next day but she never showed up. The last thing he heard from her was that she was close but the snow was hard and it slowed her done. She was out there somewhere and he knew that. But where? Had she been engulfed by the elements or was she safe somewhere? The only thing he could do was search. Crystals formed on the lids of his eyes, and his cheeks showed no signs of circulation. Through rows and rows of snow covered pines he walked. Their green needles showed no such color under the thick blanket of snow, and their branches swayed low under the weight. He had no trail to go by and no tracks to follow, but still he searched. He would surely search until he died. No pain would be greater than losing her with out doing everything he could do to find her. His fingers had long since felt the warmth of his blood. His feet were running automatically. His face no longer resembled a living man. Visibility was now at less than four feet but still he searched.
He needed to make shelter as night was quickly approaching. He laid broken branches against a tree just like he had been taught and built a fire close to the opening of his shelter. Lighting the fire was especially difficult to accomplish because to leave his hands exposed for too long would surely be their demise. Without his hands he could not hold her. The fire crackled, the only sign of life he thought. The crystals melted and colored shined once again in his face. He ate his meager meal. Bread and summer sausage. Perhaps he saw the irony in it. He thought of her as his memories drifted him to sleep. When morning broke the snow had stopped. He could see what laid in front of him now, this fact gave him hope. Maybe she too had built a shelter? Hope warmed at least his mind if not some parts of his body. His feet were already moving as he thought of his search. His feet seemed to know the way to her, he prayed they were right. His trail was monotonous with every passing tree. It was the same thing he had seen the day before. The only difference was that now he could tell that it was the same thing.
As he came to an outcrop he spied a speck of red partially buried in the snow. He ran as fast as his frozen legs could take him toward this glimmer of hope. As he approached it he saw that it was her. She was there! He had found her! This was more warming that the fire of the previous night. This was warmer than his winter coat, his hat, his gloves, everything. Love and fear rushed through him as he cleared the snow that partially covered her. Was she alive? Was she dead? Her eyes slowly flickered showing the life left in her, but her face was scared by the elements. Frostbite engulfed her. As it did him. But she was alive and that was all he cared about.
Her first image of the day was of his weathered face cracking a frozen smile. She too was happy. She was too weak to walk so he carried her. His new found strength allowed him to walk with a swift ease through the snow. They followed the trail he had taken before that would hopefully lead them to the cottage before nightfall. They both longed for the safety of the small wood building, with its small wood furnace that they would thaw by. They shared the hope as they shared their love. They were and closer and closer to safety with every step. The cabin seemed to be at arms reached, but as they closed in so did another storm. They passed under the branches of two close knit pine trees and there is was. The cabin. It was right in front of them and smiles broke the literal ice of both of their faces. They looked at each other while their frozen hands met in between them. He turned the handle and walked in just as the snow began to fall fiercer than the day before. If they had not made it to the cabin by the end of the day they surely would have died in their tracks. But they were here now. Four walls and a fire would be their savior. Exhausted they collapsed in each others arms upon the bed. They covered themselves with every blanket they could find, while the fire burned in the background. His beard was no longer an icicle and her long hair was no longer a solid frozen mass but now the flowing strands he once knew. They laid in embrace and fell asleep in each others arms.
Morning came and they remained in embrace. The fire was long since dead and yet they did not mind. They just laid there. Together.
Frozen in love.