I let my eyes take in the small movements of a billion leaves; breathe in the damp, cool air, I can feel it in my lungs. Listen to the overture of the landscape.
Walking, I’m aware of the soft ground beneath me, providing a moor for all this life, an anchor point for mighty giants and tiny weeds.
And the clouds shift and all at once the new illumination pierces the shadow, light scattering as it hits each branch and shoot, creating wonderfully confusing patterns never to be seen again.
Invisible shadows become solid as the sun forces a contrast and dappled marks appear across the path. The leaves bathed in radiance, remain unstirred by any other force. I lust after the warmth of one of those shafts of sunlight, unexpectedly breaking apart the dense cover. The path ahead is banded with intermittent light, but it is my guide, it never speaks but it tells me where to go. Move out of the shadow, beckons the light.
Way down we go. I crave both the bright and the obscured, they are here in abundance. Creatures thrive in both. Some looking to hide from it, some finding the light. Deadly battles fought every day, go on here while I walk past, picking up pinecone mementos of a journey. I don’t need words here. Language is redundant.
My time is almost up, and I need to return to my daily reality, dipping in and out of the dark and light places.
Paths that brought me here must now lead me back, alongside glittering leaves and tangled growth. Too brief again, but restorative all the same. I’ll settle for the sporadic moments with the forest that I can snatch to let in the light.
- Stephanie Noble, 2023