Jon paul Janze Jon paul Janze
Recommendations: 10

'his lower brain emoted' - I think the word 'emoted' feels a bit forced here and a little out of place with the rest of the writing somehow. My guess is that a simpler word or words would be more fitting for the paragraph. Try ''First things first," he said to himself as he relieved himself at a nearby tree"

Jon paul Janze Jon paul Janze
Recommendations: 10

I like this paragraph, it works well and sets the place and time very well. Two comments only, I would break your dialogue that starts with 'god' differently, as it is - I am expecting you to speak about 'god' rather than the land. I would put the entire dialogue either before or after the 'he thought to himself' Something like "God I love this land" he thought to himself. The second point is very minor, but I think I would leave reference to the state out (MN) it feels too deliberate to me. it won't really have meaning to anyone not from MN (because they won't know the geography) and if you are from MN, you will probably already know where Boundary Water Canoe Area is.

Jon paul Janze Jon paul Janze
Recommendations: 10

I get the feeling you have done this trip yourself Jim! I feel like I am there with Dar, making this trip :)

Jon paul Janze Jon paul Janze
Recommendations: 10

"Soon, Dar fell into a routine......

Jon paul Janze Jon paul Janze
Recommendations: 10

Jim, I am feeling that the word 'He' is cropping up a bit to much as the first sentence word in the prior and next couple paragraphs. Maybe try to work in a few different starts? In many cases you can simply drop the pronoun altogether. The birds were flying lower than usual. "probably a low pressure are moving in" he thought... or something that.

Jon paul Janze Jon paul Janze
Recommendations: 10

maybe a more integrated start here? like 'something off in the distance drew his attention and demanded to be inspected'...

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Jim Miller Jim Miller
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Some Called Him Crazy

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She had a friend.

Dar awoke to the stillness.   The tent was tightly stretched over him, and there was still no movement of the tent cloth, as he had noted in the night.  Good, that would mean no wind and he would make good time today, which translated to good distance traveled.  “Time to get the day started,” he roused himself.  He crawled out of his sleeping bag, his womb from the world, and into the waiting wilderness.  “First things first,” his lower brain emoted, as he found a nearby tree and relieved himself.  “What a wonderful morning,” he thought, “still and blue.” 1 comment

Dar’s eyes mirrored the blue of the morning sky as he took in the winter wilderness before him.  He made coffee and a freeze-dried stew supplied by the outfitter.  He heartily ate the stew and sipped at the steaming cup of coffee.  His wife would complain of his behavior as odd.  She always thought him odd for eating dinner for breakfast.  But liking anything at any time served him well on this trip.   “God,” he thought to himself.  "I love this land”.  He loved it so much that once every winter he would walk across it by himself.  This year he planned to walk twenty miles across the Boundary Water Canoe Area, MN wilderness. 1 comment

It was quite secluded this time of year, and he shared it only with the moose, and the wolf, and the bear, and the raven.  The quiet solitude did something for his soul…something way down deep...a primal stilling.  And he relished it.

“Back to reality,” he reminded himself.  He flipped the residue of coffee into the snow and wiped the dishes out with snow, then wiped them out with a clean, dry cloth, then stowed them in the kitchen pack.  He hitched his sled to his belt and began this day’s walk.  He adjusted his snow goggles, took a compass reading, and decided that he needed to keep the morning’s sun to the left of center. 1 comment

He soon fell into a routine…trudge, trudge, trudge…at a good speed, but not too fast.  If he began mouth breathing, he was going too fast, and mouth breathing was no good.  It exposed his lungs directly to the cold.  He let all of his senses experience the moment.  This was truly living.  He was experiencing the Zen of the North Country. 1 comment

He noticed that the birds were flying lower than usual.  “Probably a low pressure area moving in,” he thought.  “Probably snow coming in the near future.”  He hailed his avian “friends” and bid them good hunting before the snow moved in. 1 comment

He kept to the ice on the lake’s surface…it was smoother and less cluttered there…better for walking.   He walked parallel to the tree line…as a reference line and a source of cover from the wind to come.  About mid morning he saw a marten.   The American marten is a long, slender-bodied weasel about the size of a mink with relatively large round ears, short limbs, and a bushy tail.  Its fur was a yellowish buff.  Nearby, several squirrels were foraging before the snowfall.  They were wary, as they knew they were on the marten's menu. 1 comment

Dar was eager to see the marten stalk and chase the squirrels.  He had heard it rumored that a marten was the only predator capable of chasing down an adult squirrel through the treetops, and he wanted to see it for himself.  But he was not favored with the experience this trip.  The marten acted uninterested in the nervous squirrels, and continued on, seeking easier game.

Dar continued forward, one foot in front of the other, and very comfortably.  His sled made the only sound as it dragged behind him in its rhythmic carving of the snow.  The majestic desolation that surrounded him demanded his worship.  And he gave it freely.

Then he saw something that he felt he must inspect.  He moved closer to the site.  Blood stained the snow…bright crimson upon pure white.  He tried to figure out what had occurred.  It looked as if some large animal like a moose had bedded down and bled from multiple wounds. 1 comment

He circled the scene, puffing steam from his lungs into the ever-waiting air, and then crouched and rested on the balls of his feet as he puzzled.  He settled on the most likely of possibilities…a large animal, probably a moose, HAD lain down here.  It was tormented by mites, which were biting it so severely that it bled all over the snow.   This would leave it weak from blood-loss, and it would be fair game for the population of timber wolves that called the Boundary Waters home.

Dar now disconnected his concentration from the bloody snow that had caught his attention.  He took another compass reading.  Compass readings would be more important now that the sun was hidden.  He was determined that he needed to bear just a little more south. The now slate-grey sky was producing snow.  He built a quick fire and made a hasty dinner of freeze-dried stew.”   He broke camp, washed his pots and pans in the snow, and settled into a routine of walking, as he pulled his sled behind him.

It was a couple hours later---mid afternoon.  The falling snow was a white powder that covered everything.  The branches were laden, and there was about two inches of powder covering the ground.  So far there was no wind.  The new fallen snow, and the falling snow, muffled all sound.  Dar took another compass reading in the quickening snowfall.

He briefly stopped, closed his eyes, and listened.  Glorious silence---except for his own breathing and the beating of his heart, which he felt more than heard, as it was muffled by his clothing.  What he heard was the absolute stillness of the snow drenched realm, and it was stiller now than at most times.  This was why he came here.  To experience this.   Near absolute silence and solitude.  It was seldom known by many.

Suddenly, there loomed a rounded hump through the ice.  Dar headed for it obliquely .  Trudge…trudge…trudge.  The “pile” gathered clarity through the falling snow, and Dar saw that it was a carcass of a moose half-entombed in the ice.   He readily saw what had happened here---wolves had chased a moose out on the ice where the ice was thin and the moose had broken through.  The wolves would return after the ice had re-frozen and feast upon the frozen moose, Dar knew.  They were cunning predators, and worked no harder than they had to.

The snow began to blow lightly.   Dar was uncharacteristically indecisive---his instincts were contrary.  He wanted to build a camp as soon as possible, on one hand.  And on the other hand, he wanted to get as far away from this site as possible.  For despite his wilderness inclinations, he had a fear of wolves which, greatly influenced his decision-making ability.

He wheeled to walk away from the moose when he crashed through the ice himself.  He went in a little beyond his waist.   The frigid water shocked his body like thousands of needles burying into his flesh.  He regained his footing and broke ice to the shore, dragging his sled through the water and soaking his gear.  He cried out in surprise as the cold assaulted him body and soul.

As he regained the shore, he was “kicking” himself.  “I should have been paying attention and been mindful that the ice may have been thin there.  It is just this sort of stupid mistake that causes death.”

“Now I HAVE to build a camp here”, he shivered as much from the thought of being close to the wolves as the freezing conditions he had been thrust in to.  He bought his wet gear up onto the shore and pawed through the kitchen pack for the matches.  Thankfully, he found three dry matches swaddled deep in his gear, but his muscles were already seizing up from the cold, and shivering uncontrollably.  This made a relatively easy task of starting a fire quite difficult.  The first match broke upon striking, and the lit tip went flying off into the snow, to be extinguished immediately.  The second match sputtered and went out, as he failed to hold it to the tinder.  “Please!  Please!"  He prayed to no one in particular, and carefully lit the third match.  Against all odds it blazed to life in the tinder, and he yelped a victory yelp.

The fire lapped hungrily at the wood he had managed to gather, and it quickly grew to a respectable size. Soon he was thawing out in the fire, and finding some dry clothes.  His mind was already making plans on how he would deal with the wolves.  A raging fire figured foremost in his plans.  Suddenly the snow shifted off the overhead bough, and dumped a large amount on the campfire.  The campfire was extinguished immediately.  The wolves bayed closely.  “No second chances,” Dar thought. It would be his last coherent thought.

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