A privileged mans search for warmth
Video by Brad Labonte, starring Zachary Zimmitti as ‘the privileged man’
Sounds by Brad Labonte
Cold, by Brad Labonte
The wind outside, the air, the color of the sky sets the tone from the moment your eyes open until it’s time for them to shut. By default you will be cold, because you are outside, because the air is cold. This isn’t by fault, not by desire. It will be cold, and you will feel it. You can choose to lie there in silence waiting for your eyes to shut one last time, or you can search for warmth, crawling if need be.
So it goes, you get up, embracing solid ground beneath your feet. You’re ready. You think you’re ready, because you know what it is you want.
A fire, the first perfect picture to arrive in your thoughts, is unbroken and direct. The forest can be a miserable place, wind wrapping itself around skinny trees, making your lips numb, your fingers burn, and your body ache.
A pile of sticks, some dry brush, and a book of matches is all there is to your name. Desperately, the fire is conjured. You’re happy, but only for a moment, enough to last another day.
Eyes open, the cold comes in forcefully. You know what to do, aware of your only two choices. Lying there, you rationalize your immediate fate, staring up at the sky. Back aches, head is pounding. You are not happy, far from it. If you could just lie there, for just another half hour, you’ll get up. Sure you will.
You’ll miss everything. You’ll stay there in the forest with the trees and the snow, no memories for others, none for you to hold. Get up. Get up now. Now.
Walk, find shelter. Find a meal. Live. These baser instincts are what keeps you moving this early in the morning, that and the cold.
Every gust of wind, every stick and stone in your path seems like it was put there to spite you. Scream at the forest, smash your knuckles against the unforgiving trees. It’s not over. There is a long way to go.
Tell yourself to live, to walk, boots soaked in water from melting snow. Out of the woods, you won’t go unnoticed. Not in the attire. They will look at you, their judgment blatant and cruel. But it cannot end here, not because of PEOPLE.
It is almost unbearable what nature will do to a forgiving man.
Now you’ve been there too long and it’s not helping. You wonder why these same feelings have crawled back, reaching over your shoulders like a grim specter.
A walk through the woods might change your mind.
But, it doesn’t.
Now you’re back in the cold, surrounded by trees. They cannot talk to you, tell you that it’s going to be OK. You’ve decided. You had your mind made up so long ago, but wouldn’t admit it to yourself. You’re going back.
You’re home. You walk inside through the door and collapse. A sense of safety overwhelms you and you are happy once more, but only for a moment.
As you look around from one corner to the next, you realize this room is your room.
No one is there, only you and your breath in the air. You feel just as cold as you did before leaving as you did in the forest among the bitter, speechless trees.