Because You Came Back

By | September 13, 2014

MorningIt was past 6.30am and the forest was silent. As if to tell you that you’re too late for the night swoosh; now they’ve gone to bed, all the critters unseen who own the path you’re stepping on.

The ground is padded with moss and lichen, all dry, all thirsty for water that might or might not come any time soon. Water is precious here. Dry crunching steps make you wonder if you’ve come too soon. You came to see the green. Dry is not enticing enough. Dry is dead. The forest argues that is not with a flap of wings and a rushed squirrel that stares long enough for you to know the forest is alive after all…

TransformDead is not here. Dead is not what you’re stepping on; old wood, soft as melted chocolate, that is not dead but transforming. Welcome to the forest. Have you forgotten? Keep on going, you’ll remember if you keep on going…

Crick, crack, your steps give you away. Creatures shy away in burrows one step away or a hundred, you’ll never know. You are the visitor now. Stop. Listen. Wings again, wideness you can read in distant flapping, wideness you can see if you close your eyes and let your mind draw the bird you just hear. Thus is for now the visitor status… Silence, trees that won’t tell a thing unless you stay long enough.

Once Stray away from the path, up and over the knoll that gives way to greener grass. Your feet are silent now, and they take you near old bones scattered among old gnarly branches and you think yourself as prone to the reality of life and death as the creatures who once bore them were…

Signs of human presence further on are somewhat abhorrent; here, now, an insult. The bone yard you stumble across has deer legs, furry with hooves still attached, scattered at awkward angles. They point to death, not transformation, in stark contrast with the grass they lay on and the clean skulls you found on the knoll… A blue ribbon, old and ruffled, marking something no one will know anything about, reminding of a presence that can be intrusive when it shouldn’t. Today you learn, from today onwards you will leave no marks…

The ground is damp here, grass and clover patches alive and bouncing back as you step on them. You follow the path overgrown with greenness and leave the dryness behind. There is more, there always is more, the leaves of distant birches perk up in a shimmering choir stirred by the gentlest breeze.

Rosehip bushes line the path and your gaze stops on each red blob; they punctuate the green space, diving into leafy pages you read as you walk.

Keep on walking, deeper still, the forest urges, you’ll the reason to return. You’ll hear why.

An animal path, a shy ramification of the human-made one, calls for you to discover how creatures find their way, how they dance and fear when you’re not around. They follow voices coming from within. Mystery.

Tock-tock-tock, a woodpecker. High and busy, it becomes the clock that divides time in increments smaller than you thought possible. Stop. Tick-tock… If time scurries so fast, won’t we run out of it too soon? No. You stop, long enough to make it stop. Listen. Time is measured by clocks with hearts, by hasty breaths, by how long it takes for larvae to grow and become food through relentless pecking. Tick-tock.

LifeNow you’ve seen it too. Time. Silence, and all the sounds hidden in it, coming out when crunchy steps give you away no more.  When your heartbeat matches the rhythms of the forest; not because you made it here and stayed long enough but because you’ve returned.

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