Footprints in the Snow

by Sara Junkins '23 on January 29, 2023
Portfolio Staff


Footprints in the white snow slowly recede beneath the tangle of tree limbs. The ongoing storm creates a blanket of white which covers them up almost at once.  

Resa follows them, the footsteps of her brethren, but the angelic voice of her mother comes to mind… 

“Though your past is scarlet, it shall become as white as snow.” 

In the distance, the hunters’ howls mingle with winter’s breath. The hawk circles overhead.  

Woodland creatures curl up in their secret alcoves. They hide from cold hearts and dream of early spring.  

The hunters trek along, following the tracks. How large their weapons are. How large their feet, stomping through the wood, tearing through the knotted bramble.  

The animals burrow further underground as the earthquake ensues and foreshadows their doom. Some nestle under thick evergreens. They hope for more than their short-lived existence. They dare not peek above the surface or venture beyond their dens, but they are curious and eventually leave their havens to investigate… 

The end approaches. The hunters thrust their spears at the first living thing that moves. They say they need to make a profit. To feed their families. Some say that it is just sport. But Resa knows there is a different spirit behind this than that of her ancestors, who took each animal’s sacrifice with thanksgiving. For her kin with hardened hearts, it is a mere game.  

Nothing more than spilt ruby red merlot running down formerly pure robes. Remorseless, the kingly fur garments are forever stained. The hunters laugh in their victory, intoxicated with the thrill of the chase. The pelts of animals upon their backs, camouflage hiding them from the wrath of mother nature.  

Excessively taking. Disrupting balance. Destroying without nourishing. Invading sacred space…the tradition of ancestors perverted.  

The land’s stewards turned to tyrants. Wolves in sheep’s clothing.  

“Though your past be red like crimson, it shall become as wool.” 

The animals’ blood seeps into the snow. It calls out from the ground.  

Resa halts in her tracks, tears falling alongside the snowflakes. She drops her bow and arrow and throws her red cloak onto the snow. It was the cloak she had worn during every hunt with her brothers. The snow buries it quickly until it is no more.  

“Though your past is scarlet, it shall become as white as snow…” 

The hunters’ chants fade into the swirl of the storm far off beyond her, until the sound wanes and is no more. The snow stops and all becomes still.  

The darkness melts away, and day breaks. The sun rises, the guiding light for the new day and a new hope. The past is past and the time to move forward is here.  

She turns, and forges a new path. Leaving fresh footprints in the snow for all who wish to follow.  

A harvest awaits. She works in harmony with the land, gathering the good.