It’s the silence that gets to you.
Omnipresent and suffocating, it envelops the whole clearing like a fog, covering this corner of the woods in a cloak as thick as the ashen cloud above. The snow outside the cabin lies untouched, unspoiled, not so much as a single animal track to mark it, even though, in normal times, there ought to be myriads of different creatures in such a forest. Ice hangs jaggedly from the roof like a network of crystal cobwebs, betraying the abandonment within, the patient, forlorn wait for life to return through its doors. But the wait has been long, and the snow still lies unblemished, the eerie stillness interrupted only by the fog of your breath and the chattering of your teeth as you stare at the still, perfectly preserved scene before you.
You know the cabin belongs to someone, once meant something to someone, and you feel that if only you wait a little longer, something is bound to happen, someone is bound to come- surely nothing so picturesque can lie unclaimed forever.
But then you remember the reality of the world around you, something all too easy to forget in this remote, peaceful place seeped in memory. And you understand that the cabin is nothing but a monument to earlier times, a dignified, gentle defiance in the face of a broken world, but nothing more. There is no-one but you left to appreciate its serenity. The icicles hang in perfect, crystal formations, no sign of them ever thawing again, no subtle shifts in temperature, no quiet drips onto the snow beneath. You stare at this frozen museum in wonder, and you rue the selfishness of your own kind, all the petty concerns that once seemed to mean so much now distant, foolish irrelevances. Gone and forgotten.
The cabin sits as a last relic of something past. A retreat from a way of life long tipped into oblivion. And you realise, as you stare at it in longing, that it is doomed to remain unchanged, nothing but a frozen pocket of time in an empty world.