There's nothing left but the cracking of ice to startle me. And, really, that's no longer startling either. Each crunching step I take, not needing to look around to locate Rich and his shoes that are crunch crunch crunching right along side mine...each step is harder than the last.
They said we might find it here: they said, decades ago in books I don't remember well, that I could find it here. I have a vague memory of where to look, if only I can recognize anything under the feet of snow that have accumulated in the past decade. When I find what I'm looking for, my hear both shatters and sinks. The lonesome star, once sky high above the farm my grandfather raised on his own, no longer flies but tries to free itself from the ice clinging to its frame.
"We're close," I whisper to rich. In the silence of our crunching boots, Rich pretends not to hear my sobs. And when we reach the top of the hill we have been climbing, and look out over the expanse that I hope might hold what we search, I croak out in disappointment. "They're gone. All the trees are dead."
(Note: There is a large Christmas tree farm near my grandfathers house ^^)