Speaking to StarsMature

 In quite a number of years, Silas walked every road in the Northwest. He tasted water from mountain springs and learned the lyrics to the songs the birds sang to one another.

He learned to love the woods of Yosemite, the cliffs in the Sierra Nevada, the snow of the winters in Montana. 

   The world became his Anne, as he knew she would never be found. The darkness of night became her ebony hair. The sparkle in the water, reflecting the sun became her eyes. The touch of grass in the spring became her fingernails on his skin. Silas had his Anne. But it was not her. He tried. But it was not his mute beauty. The silence he thrived in, became the silence he hated. 

His beard was scraggly, his hair, wild. He cleaned in the rivers, but come winter, it was too cold to do so. He wore his old clothes, but eventually needed to make some himself. He learned the way to survive in the wild. 

He found a small hut built in the woods of some park. Forgotten, as he was forgotten, and he was drawn to this hut. Inside was a small cot, a wooden chair and a table. There was a small fireplace. And Silas had found his home.

He woke at first light, and sought out firewood. He had gone into town once to find an ax. He stole one from a family outside of Helena. Using this ax, he took a tree only once he ran into the issue of finding no stray branches on the ground. He would collect enough firewood and collect water from his rain collectors fashioned out of some of his old clothes, his old shoes. Anything he could find. He made useful. He truly learned to live with what he had.

He checked traps for animals he caught. Checked a small garden he had began to grow. A man needs to eat. And he did not always prove fortunate. He grew to become very wiry. His muscles were strong from a hard life. But his body still grew thin. 

He took up a hobby in collecting flowers to grow in his garden. And when he could find no more flowers, he sought out anything unusual. Weeds, tree saplings, brush and herbal plants, all joined his garden. He did his best to maintain a colorful home.

And every night, he would sit in the grass outside his hut, out on a hill without any trees around it to obscure the view. And he just stared at the night sky; sometimes for hours at a time, gazing into the ebony darkness, interrupted by a showing of interstellar grandeur.  He learned the planets. He learned some constellations. Some he made up. He named stars for people he had met. And would stare into them, and sometimes he would speak to them. 

  The big bright star, not the North Star, the brighter star, Sirius, he had taken a day aside, and apologized to the one who named it. For he had another name. “Anne.” He whispered her name. 

The star shined brightly. As if to reply to him, “Silas”
Tears streamed hot on his rough cheeks, they steamed as they fell from his cheek to the frosted grass of November. He no longer knew what year it was.

He had come to terms with an existence away from all people. 

And he was okay with that. At least here…he won’t kill anybody. Woe can cause the heart to suffer. But nothing out here has ever caused his rage to burn. And that was a compromise he was willing to make.

“I suppose this is all life is… Making compromises… finding a life one can have… One time… I wished I could be an artist. I wanted to put paintings in galleries in Paris. And I wanted you there, to help me cut the ribbon on my new exhibits.” He spoke to the star.

“And now, I know. If I had that dream realized… “ He laughed sheepishly, through stifled sobs, “All would burn to ash. Including you, Anne. You’re better off without me…”

And every night, after gazing and speaking with the stars. He returned to his home, and wept.

The End

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