Copyright 2001 by S.R. Sudekum
Chapter IX - Epilogue
Sunlight. Bright and crystal clear, pure and warm and cleansing, as only can be felt on a fine, warming spring day. The scent of earth and water thick in the air. Tender new grasses pushed up through the dead leaves of last year's growth. Noisily a car speeds down the road, leaving behind a choking cloud of exhaust that dissipates into the wind.
Slowly, grudgingly the snow retreated under the heat of the sun. Last to melt, the snow in the roadside ditch, revealing its miser's hoard of castaway bottles and fast food bags. Up from the filthy snow juts a stump, neatly sawn at at angle, three deep gouges dug into its sides. A bit of branch protrudes further up the snow pile, brown, dry needles, and clutching like a drowning man, a bit of silver tinsel, stirring gently in the fresh Spring breeze.
The ground beneath the snow bank is stained dark with moisture. At the edge of the stain a spot of sunlight, warming the soil. In this spot, a stirring, a reshuffling of the shed and matted needles and leaves. A small sprout struggles through the rotting trash, and spreads before the watching sun, its tiny, delicate, infant needles, well on its way to becoming a fine and lovely pine tree.
Alternate Ending #1 Alternate Ending #2 Alternate Ending #3 Alternate Ending #4 Alternate Ending #5