Mistress of the East

by D. J. Herda

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I slammed the door to the Saab and threw my boot bag up over my shoulder.  The sun hung on the mountains in the west, but the cold had already begun its long sweep down the sprawling Yampa River Valley.   The winds washed down from Canada and raced across the crystalline stream, cutting the valley in two, and I pulled my parka up around my face before beginning the arduous climb to our condo. 


My thighs still burned from the last run, a long, grueling, uncompromising dash down The Closet, with its steeps and trees and bumps and wildly undulating fall line, followed by a fast mile-long run-out of groomed and packed powder down to the base.  It had been an exhilarating afternoon.


“My God!” I cried as I forced the door closed with my butt and stood there shivering.


“Jeeez!”  I shook a few snowflakes from my head and thwacked my gloves against my shoulders, then hobbled across the foyer to the fireplace, the toes inside my boots cramping from the cold.  I opened the fireplace door and grabbed a piece of pinon, threw it inside, and then I did it again before prodding the smoldering ashes to life.   The pinon ignited quickly, spires of orange and yellow leaping high up into the flue.   I took off my gloves, unzipped my coat, and held my hands out to the fire—ten wienies at a roast.


“Damn, I can’t believe how raw it is out there!  Gawd!”  I shivered once more, and then again, and finally I felt the warmth from the flames begin to tickle my body.  I wished that Shadar were there to hold me.  That always made me feel warm, cozy–snuggling against his chest.  It made me feel secure.

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