We wintered in the cabin in the forest.
Once a month or so Andrea would take the barge to collect fresh supplies
I did not venture far from the cabin, but Andrea would often wander the forest for the whole day, leaving at dawn or earlier and returning at dusk or later. When I asked her what she did in the forest all day, she simply said, “My work.”
I did not ask for more. I was content with her presence. I felt I was in a tranquil limbo, recuperating from the past, recharging for the future.
I was content to enjoy Andrea’s companionship. We chatted incessantly of questions of philosophy. We started collaborating in writing articles, some of which we published on the net, and talked of producing a book. I taught my students and Andrea did her work in the forest.
The winter was colder than usual. We actually had a couple of mornings of frost. The crocuses still appeared by New Year and the daffodils were out by the end of January.
It was a relatively dry winter and the level of the river hardly rose at all.
We tarried in our splendid isolation, in virtual contact with the rest of the world, but in real contact with none of it.
I felt at peace with my surroundings and with Andrea and I felt that she felt the same with me. When we made love it felt as if it was the ultimate expression of the melding of our souls, of the fusion of our spirits. We both knew that this was but an interlude, that when spring came we would have to move on; but we did not talk of it.
We talked of many things. We exercised our minds, sparring with each other and seeking to develop our ideas. We talked of good and evil. Of whether there were good and evil forces operating in history or whether good and evil were just a consequence of human action. Of whether they were just reflections of each other in an ethical mirror and of whether the nature of the mirror was changeable.
No-one visited us.
The only life we saw was the trees and flowers of the forest, the birds, one robin became particularly friendly, the occasional squirrel, and once, on one of the frosty mornings, I caught a glimpse of a deer moving through the trees close to the cabin.
We wintered in the forest, content in each other.
Time stood still, but a change of season was inevitable and then it would have to move on.
The day of the vernal equinox we moved on.
We loaded the barge with supplies and left a good quantity of non-perishables in the cabin for anyone who might come after us.
Andrea took a last walk in the forest and, in late afternoon, we cast off, moving slowly down river as the sun set. We moored that night under a clear sky, a crescent moon reflected the sun’s light down to us and the myths and legends of ancient times populated the heavens, hiding within their midst the more enlightened myths and legends of our time - black holes and dark matter, hyperspace and wormholes - and leading, somewhere in the distance, to the beginning of all.