Hölzerne Wege

On the dirt road that winds down from the Solion pass, I stopped by a small clearing to luncheon. Great ruts had been made in the side of the road, bending into the grassy circle as if a great wheeled machine had lost control, screaming through the clearing and plunging into the forest undergrowth beyond. A movement in the periphery caught my eye and I turned to find a man standing waist deep in a rut near the end of the forest, using the clearing floor as a table for a modest picnic. As he munched contentedly, he noticed me and beckoned me over with the wave of a drumstick and a grunt.

He was shirtless, topped with short, dark hair and encrusted with a variety of foodstuffs, not all appearing to be from his current meal. A peculiar stain on his chemise resembled an angered eye and, in the style of the old Masters, its opprobrium appeared to follow me no matter where I moved around him. Doubly disconcerting, his true eyes were opposite and never seemed to focus on me even when standing within reach. This was due, perhaps, to their faint color; the steely sparkle of the sun on a silver belt buckle.

Surprisingly, he muttered “Well met, Mr. Szatz,” as he plucked a piece of detritus from his shirt and placed it in his mouth.