Flakes of pure white snow fell silently amongst the trees of the wood; the already snow-lined branches of the trees muffled almost all sounds in the still forest.
All save the steady thudding of an axe chopping rhythmically.
Sarice wielded her trusty blade against the trunk of a thick pine tree that had begun to die and loose its needles; a fine firewood tree.
With each hearty swing, her axe slashed into the tree deeper and deeper until it started to teeter away from her.
Panting from her labour, she rested while leaning upon the axe handle and watched as the big tree came crashing down with a billowing cloud of powdery snow.
With her harness strapped around her shoulders, she methodically trudged her way through the shin-deep snow, pulling the neatly de-branched tree trunk behind.
Light snow still fell through the canopy of towering trees that dwarfed her as she made her way home with her burden sliding heavily along the ground, aided by the special skis she had fastened to the sides of the big log.
A crashing sound caused her to stop suddenly and stand silent, cautiously listening for where the noise had come from.
Another crash came from somewhere to the west and then another came quickly behind the second, like trees crashing against each other.
Sure enough, in the distance she saw a huge pine tree come careening down in a cloud of flying snow to smash against a neighboring tree so hard its bark began to crack and splinter and fall as well.
Like massive dominos, a row of trees fell over into each other, each landing with a force that shook the ground beneath her as she stood staring at the scene.
The nearest tree to her started to fall as she stood with her hands upon her shoulder straps, calmly watching with curiosity. Not moving even when the tip of the tree top narrowly missed her as it came crashing down to its resting place a few meters in front of her; the billowing gust of wind from the force of the tree fall covering her from head to toe in fluffy, white snow.
The snow had settled again and Sarice began brushing the powder off her heavy coat and fur hat when another noise ripped through the returning silence.
A thunderous roar pierced the cold air as Sarice finished brushing herself off. Looking toward the beginning of the line of felled trees, she saw a massive brown bear standing on its hind legs, bellowing out at her.
Without a doubt, it had been the one to push over the first tree with its powerful paws and set the whole chain reaction in motion.
The big bear then came down on all four of its powerful legs and began a lumbering run to where she stood.
Showing the charging bear the same calm curiosity she had the falling trees, Sarice simply watched as it barreled closer and closer toward her.
As the bear neared, its shape began to shrink. Passing by the coverings of the branches of the fallen pines, the massive shape of the wild bear changed. As it ran, it became a burly, bearded man, wearing a thick brown fur coat.
The man came to a stop, panting from his run in the snow, a few paces in front of her, still towering over her in stature, yet with a roguish smirk across his handsome face.
Sarice looked from the man to the line of trees and back to his then proudly grinning face. After a moment of regarding his goofish beaming, she snorted.
"Show off." She huffed and turned to start to pull her log once again, heading north to the cozy log cabin lay just beyond the next gradually sloping hill.
The big man shrugged his broad shoulders and gave a jovial laugh, shaking his head full of curly brown hair. He then headed over to the last fallen tree, bent down, and hefted the entire tree onto his shoulder with a grunt, branches and all.
Swinging it around deftly, he started off to follow the tracks Sarice left behind.
"Yes, dear," he said to himself with a chuckle.