I dressed in winter. My body prepared to endure, took on weight and slowed. I gathered wood and preserves, blocked the mouth of the cave with rocks. I built a fire, opened a jar, dozed off. Occasionally I peered through the cracks, grateful for storms, feeling sour without. I fed on my own fat and grew fatter. I considered the cave a fine place to die. I had to conserve oxygen, I didn’t breathe much, I remembered to with an occasional sigh. The meat was good but maybe rancid, the drink was good but I couldn’t taste it. I stared at the flames for hours, days actually, gesturing at shadows. Some young spelunkers would’ve found me in a hundred years, still gazing at the fire, chewing on my last pine needle.
Except that today the wet rocks at the cave’s mouth catch a new glint of light, I smell it and taste it. I have lamented the pile of years but it is my birthday and I’m glad for the weight of my being. I exist here. I strip off boots and furs, scrape off beard, push aside a few rocks and crawl out into the new cold. The sun promises it will soon be warm. I take air, take steps that ease themselves into running. My body prepares to thrive, it will shed winter and become sharp as spring. So much room to explore, and look, there you are.