As far as the eye could see, everything stood as god had intended it to be- miles and miles led on through the untouched forest- save for a few fox prints left in the night, the only surviving proof that the world had not stopped for all of god’s creatures the night before (only His most darling, undeserving), but even their delicate traces began to diminish under the rising sun. The poet in Todd would have been hesitant in the face of the virgin land. He would have been brought to a standstill, and absorbed all of it's beauty as it was- before it could be permanently altered by the cherished memories of beloved initiates that he knew were now a thing of the past- as would have Thoreau or Shelley.
But now, as Todd’s current irreproachable squirm from the “comforting” grasp of his fellow peers in mourning were echoed by torchered cries of “leave him be”, he hastily shatters the previously unsullied facáde of innocence, and hopes for a better future. This moment was one that -at a later date- would be confronted by Todd, and berated for endless hours, only to eventually be referred to as the moment the poet died. But, for all of Todd’s beautiful words and writings, and a calamitous swarm of emotions, not a single coherent thought was given the chance to form, though, even if they were, they would have been immediately seized by, and boiled down to but one word: Neil.
Todd stumbled to the end of the dock, where chilly gulls peck at the sheet of wax encasing large colorful fish and their eggs, waiting in earnest for the sweltering afternoon heat of spring to release them from their shells. Lives will go on beyond the gates of Welton, beyond the railroad tracks encasing the town, beyond the borders of Vermont. Beyond Todd’s dreaded thoughts of the end of all things..
He doesn't know how long it's been, but by the time Todd turns back around, the rest of the remaining poets have retreated back into the warmth of the interior of ‘Hell-ton’. Their path has long since vanished beneath the fresh snow and the cold shadows of the evergreens, casting an ominous layer of darkness across the unkempt lawn. Todd isn't entirely sure they were ever there in the first place.
Numbness takes over his heart, soul, and head. And legs. He could have walked into the lake -surely the ice would cave at his touch- and Todd would not have been the wiser. Luckily for Welton’s reputation, his legs decided the forest would suit his needs; seclusion, with a bit of familiarity. Somewhere he was welcomed like an old friend..