aka THE HEWING YEARS – WHICH I ANACHRONISTICALLY PREDICT WILL ONE DAY BECOME A SEMINAL MOMENT IN CINEMA HISTORY
The skies darken around me. This fact impinges with sudden urgency on my finely honed intellect. I throw back my handsome head and bewail my fate to the surrounding trees. Or, at any rate to those trees still standing; those trees not yet levelled by the virile swing of my mighty chopper, its glistening edge powered by the steely sinews of arms even more finely honed than my intellect.
“Ah me,” I bewail, (told you), “I have wandered off from my anachronistically early 1846 wagon train and, in a manner indicative of my status as a romantic hero, allowed the myriad beauties of nature surrounding me in this unorganised territory West of the Missouri to overcome my sensitive soul and cause my manly heart to reverberate with the glories of the verdant vistas surrounding me!”
The trees make no answer.
“Ah me,” I bewail, (again), “led astray by the swift striding of my steely strong sinews – these particular steely strong sinews being in my legs rather than my arms – and my fervent desire to commune with your woody wondrousness, your leafy loveliness, your arboreal adorableness, your…”
Overcome by pounding emotions, I hew down another small cottonwood and embrace its trunk passionately.
“I’m lost in the woods,” I explain, more simply. The trees remain silent (except for the rustling, which ravishes my delicately sculpted and utterly perfect ears). “I will make me a bed amongst your leaves,” I continue, informatively, as if speaking to an invisible audience needing to be kept up to speed with the plot, “…And sleep until the morning light allows me to retrace my romantically meandering path. Doubtless the positioning of the many trees felled by my vigorous blade will aid my return.” I pillow the silken tresses of my glorious dark hair upon a gorgeous piece of Burr Oak and prepare to close my delightfully deep and lustrous eyes. “Furthermore, I will not tremble at the dark, nor at the strange sounds of the fierce forest, nor at the many fearsome eyes I see watching from the shadows. Instead, I will do what I have always done to comfort myself, ever since I turned twelve – I will stroke my shaft…” I do stroke my shaft. “I love you my sturdy axe,” I murmur fondly, “…I love you more than my hammer, more than my chisel, more than my rifle…AND,” I interrupt myself, in an endearingly boyish way, “…to keep up my spirits, I will sing!!
If I had me a axe…
I’d be hewing in the morning…
I’d be hewing in the evening…
All over this unorganised land…”
Brushing leaves from the gleaming dark tendrils of my hair I sit up and stretch my perfectly formed limbs. I rub my expressive and lushly lashed brown eyes with my elegantly tapered fingers. I yawn. Even while doing this, I am reliably informed I remain the epitome of masculine beauty. I scratch my armpit, which never sweats nor smells stale, but simply exudes a faint manly muskiness at all times.
I glance around at the scene, almost intimidating in the dark, but now, once again, simply verdant, dewy loveliness. With occasional patches of chopped trees and sawdust. The watching eyes, so menacing in the shadows, are revealed to be…
“Why, hello!” I greet a shy fawn, stepping delicately on long slender legs from a thicket. Huge brown eyes – nearly as endearing as my own – blink curiously at me. I hold out an acorn in one hand. The fawn comes closer and nuzzles into my palm. I stroke a velvety muzzle gently. “Why hello!” I repeat. “You’re a beauty aren’t you? A little prince of the forest! And, I observe you are an All-American bob-tail white, NOT a Roe Deer, which is the species more common in Austria. So, if you were, hypothetically, a fictional character, you must be All-American – not a European import. Unless of course, you had been given that white tail just to make you more endearing to an All-American audience.” I dimple, delightfully, at the fawn. “I’m All-American myself. Crikey, yes! Good old Uncle John Bull!”
Once again, the fawn blinks, curiously. Or, perhaps confused. Who can tell?
A scurrying in the grass alerts me to the fact we have company.
“Is he your friend?” I ask, indicating the young rabbit with the appealingly fluffy cheeks.
Thump, thump, thump, goes one of the disproportionately large back feet.
I laugh (in an utterly masculine way). “Does that mean yes?”
Thump, thump, thump!
“Pleased to meet you,” I dimple, delightfully. (I know this is repetitive, but I DO dimple delightfully – repeatedly. It is the only way I know how to dimple. Delightfully, that is. Not repeatedly.) I hold out a hand and shake an offered ear.
Thump, thump, thump!
“We should call you ‘Thumper’,” I dimple, delightfully. (Sorry.)
The fawn and the rabbit exchange a glance. They roll their eyes. No, surely not! I must have imagined that!
Yet a third pair of endearing brown eyes appears from behind a daisy patch.
“And, what’s your name?” I ask the young and improbably silky skunk. A tiny paw points. “Flower?” I check. “You’re called Flower?” A set of impossibly long and curling lashes flutter, affirmatively. “You’re a girl skunk, aren’t you?” I deduce. A striped tail is curled around her neck like a feather boa, she peers flirtatiously over the top. “I do apologise,” I amend, chivalrously, “…not a girl skunk, a LADY!” Flutter, flutter, flutter from the lashes. Flower plucks one of her namesakes and scampers over to present it to me then, coyly, she peeps back at me over her shoulder. “Why, thank you, ma’am,” I say, tucking the bloom into my buttonhole. Long, slow flutter. A heartfelt sigh from the skunk.
Poor creature. She has clearly fallen in love, not knowing I am a married man. While still pondering the ramifications of inter-species adultery on a story’s PG13 rating and wondering how to break the ‘sorry, not available’ news to young Flower, something wet lands on my handsome head.
“It’s raining!” I point out, razor-sharp on the uptake as ever. I hold out my hand, gallantly, to Flower. “Ma’am, would you like to join me in singing – and dancing – in the rain?”
She nods, bashfully. The fawn, cute as a button, lowers his shoulders to allow his skunk friend to climb up, this brings her paws level with my hands.
“Hit it, Thumper!” I cry. Also cute as a button, the young rabbit drums out a quickstep rhythm with his feet. Fawn providing the footwork, skunk providing the upper body sway – we dance around the forest. My ringing baritone fills the air.
“Drip, drip, drip, little April showers…”
Bluebirds, the females usefully differentiated by the wearing of tiny headscarves, line up on the branches of remaining trees to provide a chorus.
“Pitter, patter, pitter, patter… tiny little raindrops…”
Squirrels samba. Weasels waltz. Foxes foxtrot. Racoons rumba. Ocelots oscillate.
“I feel pretty, oh so pretty, I am pretty – and witty – and…”
Music and laughter fills the air. Sunshine bounces from glistening diamond drops.
Suddenly, a movement in the nearby thicket catches my eye. Whip quick, I release Flower’s paw and scoop up my rifle. With a single swift movement I aim and…Bang!
“Venison all round tonight!” I exult, as the doe’s body crashes stone dead to the ground.
I see the stricken looks on the faces of all my new found forest friends. Tears well up in the fawn’s eyes. His baby lip wobbles…