Choices in the dark

I strap on the yellow snowshoes given me by my love early in our marriage, because yellow always makes me smile. But today, my face is stuck in fear, grief, despair.
Night is falling, and I trek down the woods path through 4 foot drifts, floating atop, falling occasionally. I'm on a quest to find the big cottonwood, the one it would take 4 grown men to wrap their arms around. Trees like this don't just happen in Wisconsin. This tree is sacred.
I have the vague idea that if I could just sit there a while, my back against the solidness of that trunk, there would be peace for a few moments. I think, too, about staying there in the dark. Wonder if it would be easy to just go to sleep in the cold. My brain catches the thoughts in it's sieve and I turn them over in my mind and reject them. No precious stones there. I thank God for the cottonwood tree, pray that He will help me stand up and walk home. Choose life once more.
Darkness falls quickly in the woods. But I am smiling now. My breath comes hard and fast, I take off my mittens because the work has warmed all the places I felt dead inside. I pace my breathing. I take a chunk of snow in my bare hand and push it against forehead, the cold bringing my soul rushing back inside, ready for the walk home.
And as the sun sets, and the woods turn entirely to shadow, the snow gray instead of white, I emerge from the woods onto the road and home. I have survived, walked through this temptation. I whisper words from the one Psalm that jumps like Living Water from the pages of an otherwise lifeless Bible:
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart. O God, YOU will not despise. (Psalm 51:12-17 exc.)