What Is Best?

EXCERPT FROM WHAT IS BEST?

Here's section 37, the section I chose to excerpt for my NaNoWriMo profile while I was working on the novel during November. It's one of the earlier sections that I wrote, and hasn't changed much in revision. I'll add more material here as time goes on.

37

Trees have always struck you as silent authority figures-constantly judging, never punishing nor rewarding, yet shaping your behavior through their presence nonetheless. Like you, you know them to be alive. And you suspect they know things you don't. Yet if you never live among them, how will you learn?

The trees here, in the shadowy brown woods, are larger than the white-barked streamside ones you're comfortable with. Their foliage blocks out a lot of the starlight you're used to. Even the moon sometimes has trouble getting through. It's eerie-you have to find your way by smell. You eat sparingly, but the time inevitably arrives when you aren't sure which way you've come from, and have little idea what you can eat out here or how to catch the mice and voles you hear skittering between the tree roots. You know how to catch water voles, but these are different. You're out of your element.

In the midst of this uncertain pallor, an idea occurs to you. Why not take another step? So long as you're transforming your life so utterly, why not alter your schedule and become diurnal? If you live by day rather than night, at least there should be enough light to find your way around. Yes, life will be hard, but you may well find other daytime treasures you'd otherwise miss.

"Well…nothing ventured, nothing gained! Here's to a long sleep and a new me." Section 31.

"No…bad idea. One step at a time. There's no prey in the daytime, and I don't want to starve." Section 63.

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