In a hidden part of a freezing mountain lies a hollow obscured by frost-covered stone. Not marked on any maps and unknown to humanity, the tiny cave is a rare refuge for weary lost travelers, its hard exterior protecting them from the predators that make the harsh, quiet mountain their home. A tiny, nearly-invisible hole in the roof of the enclave lets in trickles of soft, sparkling snow, and, over the centuries since the hollow was formed, it’s filled up with layers of frost. Though visitors rarely stumble upon the hidden shelter, and the constant cold has eroded nearly all traces of humans, one mark has been made on the obscured, icy cave.
In the spring, when the top layers of snow have melted, only a pile of the cold, white, crystals, soft and a few feet-deep, remains in the center of the hollow. Atop this heap of unfamiliar, undisturbed snow lies an old, ever-burning lantern, left by a traveler who’s certainly all but forgotten about the glowing contraption he left behind in a strange, hidden hollow on a harsh, snow-covered mountain.
The lantern lights up the darkness
And warms up the cold.
It softens the starkness
And turns everything gold.
It’s a woolen coat keeping out the harsh wind
It’s an inviting word, erasing chagrin.
It’s a soft tissue soaking up salty tears
It’s an understanding look exchanged between peers.
It’s reading a book in a soft, cozy bed
It’s cutting into a fresh loaf of warm, home-made bread.
It’s the arm of a friend draped around shaking shoulders
It’s the roots of a tree sprouting up between two mossy boulders.
The lantern’s a light keeping nightmares at bay
The lantern’s jumping into a huge pile of hay.
It’s a soft, yellow duckling swimming across a still lake
It’s blowing out the candles of a sweet birthday cake.
It’s a mother cat licking the heads of her kittens
It’s putting on a pair of snug, knitted mittens.
It’s a rosy sunset emitting soft, golden light
It’s a silvery moon illuminating the night.
It’s a lone lifeboat floating in the roiling blue.
The lantern is comfort.
The lantern is safety.
But, most of all, the lantern is you.
I liked your usage of rhyme and repetition. I could visualize the scenes you were describing in my head.
Your essay brings me back to winters in New England. Thanks for bringing me back!