The Never Ending Steps

The sky had finally turned clear although the countryside was still awash with snow from the four day long blizzard. Johannes wiped some of the condensation from the small window and gazed out.  The cemetery sloped downwards towards the small valley so he could see four miles in either direction.
* * transcribers note... two many fours

It took a few minutes to rekindle the hearth and soon the air was rich with the scents of chamomile and eintopf, blending together with the other earthy smells of the ancient cottage.

**Iike this part...viseral. sp

Johannes took at his meal and listened to the chirping of the birds echoing thinly as he planned the day. When he was ready, he donned his scarf, greatcoat and wide brimmed hat, bid a cheery fare thee well to Felix with the admonishment that he keep the abode free of mice and other vermin and let the cold air in as he opened his door to the world.

The cobbled path through the cemetery was snowed under but he had his broom with him. Cleaning the never ending steps was part of the work. The path through the cleft from the small valley where the cemetery was the only way to town in the big valley. Beyond the ridge he had walked this path virtually every day of his life. The songs of autumn and the fruiting mirabella were his favorite childhood memories. His was the legacy of time as was his father's and his father's before him.

He methodically made his way upwards carefully sweeping snow and ice from every inch of the acient and well worn steps while using the trees around him to support himself. The path could be treacherous. Were it not for the vegetation, one slip could end one battered and broken a hundred feet below as the bumped over stumps, rocks and crags. As boys they would carry their sleds with them to the top and fly back down the  (?) track used to lower coffins to the cemetery.

Johannes has a lover in the town from Budapest in Hungary. Servus, Frau Angelika. Angelika twinkled her eye at him while she prepared tea for some of the other customers who had arrived before him.

Johannes took pause at one of the rest areas situated at odd intervals along the way. As he sat he spotted young Franz, son of a local trader as he tenously made his way downwards. Balancing bags of wares strapped to his back and sides and testing each step carefully with his curled walking stick. As he reached Johannes he removed several of the larger ones and sat down next to him.