#14

a fox

in a moment of magic

little beams of light

to deeply connect to the world in a way others can’t

asks the question

which way to go

directions

asks itself

there is no fear of choosing the wrong way

the world is an opportunity

yes it walks

stepping into the uncomfortable space

to be resourceful

to figure out a way

all that abounds

is playful laughter

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moving through the denseness of a forest

in a place 

where there are millions of trees

leaves create a temporary barrier

palm leaves brush past you while moving forward 

doesn’t matter the pace 

slow or moving fast through greenery

the air is thick with dew

and distant birds

animals calls echo

reverberating off the stems 

shaking

moving through 

underneath a canopy of light unseen

glimpses of rays peer down

but the forest floor can’t be found

damp steps 

feet sink into soft earth

and it could be this forest goes on forever 

always bending leaves back to part a way

sneak through the sharp edges

avoid scratches

or the potential stumble on a hidden rock 

pebble

branch

on the ground i can lie flat 

inching forward on fingertips

but the heaviness keeps me down longer than i want to be

even in a beautiful forest

moving with swiftness

moving with alacrity 

looseness 

is better than the vulnerability of staying in place

and the raindrops that fall to ground sink instantly 

or hang off the edges 

splashed onto the sides 

on my arms as i walk

hanging as if to drop when i stop to notice

one thing remains true

the relief of the deepness in the air in this forest

feels unlike anything else

and so i consider that for quite a while longer than one may need 

to truly understand 

to bring her back

The old man had a sense of direction that some would call uncanny. It was a gift to know where to go in a moment’s notice. Trouble was, it always came up in the moment. Not days or years ahead. No. It was was precisely in a moment. Sometimes they were questions that took years to figure out.

The question looming in his mind was how to bring the girl back to the village. He’d turned it over in his head for years. It weighed deeply on his conscience from the last time he’d seen her and sent her off deeper into the forest.

He had flashes of dreams where he saw what she saw. A great beast that followed her every move. Rains that threatened to wash the ground she stood on away. He could hear the silent cries echoing into the distance. 

But none of that mattered. Something dawned on him all at once one day. The realization, the answer came on him all at once. It was the reason past plans had failed. They didn’t go far enough. This was so much simpler. The only way it would work however was if he found her first. And she could have been anywhere at that point. 

Still, he had to try. And with that he packed what was left of his things. And he went running into the green.

the twelve paintings

The day after the rain stopped, the girl came upon a kind of cave. It was a makeshift shelter built from the natural deepening of the rock. There were twelve paintings or groupings of markings inside. 

It was evening and the light from the moon was the only way she could see inside. Tracing her finger over each symbol and picture, she wondered…

who made these?

She had never seen anyone in the forest, but here were all these paintings and so far away from any of the towns she knew around. How did it get out here and why put it so far away from everywhere else people would see it? 

Some had very intricate designs and details. It must have taken a long time to do this. She walked from one to the next staring at faces. Birds and plants. An animal she had never seen before – one she didn’t know the name of, but looked very intimidating. She watched the animal for a while and it reminded her of something she could quite figure out.

As she stared at the paiyings she followed the lines from one to the next. Her eyes felt heavy. She heard a low hum a high-pitched buzz and then suddenly, silence and a flash. 
an old woman tending to a fire
part of her face hidden in shadow

outstretched wings of a bird

looking up to touch a feather

then night

the deepness of the air

a drop of water plunks into a pool

and the circles

the ripples form

drop of water, as if suspended in time

motionless

lying in a bed waking from fevered dreams

looking to the arms 

seeing they are drenched in sweat

a yellow flower

old woman laughing

and the animal lunges

teeth

clutching arm

red spots on green grass 

rustling brown crumpled leaves

a lantern

a trail of incense 

and tall trees

thunder

light in back of clouds rolls across the sky



And she blinked. She looked around. The paintings were still there.

dense night

Sometimes, darkness covered the land and sky with a density so thick, you could almost touch it. There was nothing to be agraid of, but when everything was very still. So quiet, not a word, it was hard not to feel as though something lurked and loomed from the outer edges of the deepness. Staring back from out into the night. Not a sound not a word. It was the kind of gradual awareness of a presence that within the darkness, in the depths of the sky across the land, the closeness of the night felt like a blanket covering wrapping up those who lived below. In a way, for a select few, perhaps, it was comforting.

Eventually, eyes adjust to the dark and then shapes of the tall thick trees could be made out. The ground was soft and though covered with bushes, small plants and debris.  The seasons were turning and so the air began to feel cold and enveloping As if it would drift straight through you then into the beyond. Walking at this time of night took great skill and concentration. It took time and patience.

There was a large tree within the forest that provide a welcome respite on the journey. it was a place that felt more protected than the other trees around it. She went to this tree. This is where she sat and listened with wide eyes until she didn’t remember anything from the world in front of her. Scanning the horizon and looking to the brightness of the stars. It wasn’t until a ray of light rested upon her cheek, that she looked around realizing she had fallen asleep. It was as though she had drifted to distant lands and worlds and then was back again in an instant. 

Everything looked so different during the day. Was no longer confined and dense, but open space and trees that went on forever. It was though she was in the middle of no where.

the sea of flowers that covered the land

One day as she was walking, bright vibrant spots of color captured her attention. Looking around it was as though she was in a sea filled with bits of a broken rainbow. She realized they were hundreds of flower petals of all shapes and sizes. Each with their delicate silky edges drifting past her feet as she kept walking. She knelt down to see them closer, holding one in her hand and studying how smooth its edges were.

where did all the flowers come from?

She tried to see how far they spread across the land, but it was as if she had stepped into another world that somehow changed the rules. Like blankets of flower petals were just as natural as happening upon a tree. And if there was no reason she could find for this strange occurance, then she figured she would enjoy it as much as she could.

i’ll do what i’ve always wanted to do…

And with outstretched hands she fell back into the beautiful petals – all soft, light as air, delicate as they covered her skin. She sank back breathing in their perfumed essence. She closed her eyes and dreamed deeply, falling into a heavier – heavier still – sleep.

all at once

She lied back onto a great grey speckled boulder arching her back against it closing her eyes to the sun. Its surface was warm, smooth and comforting, grounding her back into the present. Being against this great rock, it was as if she could hear inside the rock to its soul. Like a vibrating whisper, she could feel its energy. Deep within the rock at the innermost part and back through to the surface, she listened. What was it telling her? She put her hands on the giant rock trying to get something from it.

All around – all at the same time – from every direction, she heard the sounds of the forest competing for her attention. Birds calling, cooing. Rustling in the trees from small creatures. In the bushes, a predator lurking waiting to strike. The sounds of wind and trees extending up to the sky. Of insects buzzing. Everything singing all at once. Including the giant rock. In fact, the rock seemed to joyously laugh at the symphony of the forest. Something about felt a bit overwhelming to the girl – a huge release followed. She caught herself from crying and instead only whinced at the lump in her throat. Gone, as quickly as the feeling emerged. And then, lying back she stretched out her hands on the great boulder and watched clouds roll across the windows the branches made. Watching the sky, she settled into peace.

the five questions 

To get back to the stream from the mountains and through the forest. Back nearby the old small house where incense sometimes drifted from the windows. Back to the place where she would float on top of the water. Where she would skip stones across the flat surfaces of side pools of water that collected off the main path.

To get back, she needed to walk a very long time. It took days. As she kept to the path burned into her memory. Yes, this tree and that rock and that scraggly bush. As she kept walking, she couldn’t be sure, but it was the feeling as though someone was following her. Yet, every time she looked back, there was nothing. Just air. Sometimes wind blew through the trees during those moments as if to laugh at her vigilance. But there was nothing there. And so, she continued.

Climbing over large boulders. Dodging low-hanging branches from fallen trees still growing. Dust piling up under her fingernails, her feet. And sometimes it was simply to hot to be in areas with direct sun. She found shelter under jutting rocks, bushes and waited until the ground didn’t burn her feet any longer. During these times, thd coolness of the rock and the warmth of the air from the sun made her sleepy. She often nodded off in these moments.

Walking steadily, she listened attentively for the sound she madeas she moved. She paid so much attention to it that it was hard to distinguish what was outside those steps. Everything wrapped itself together, blending into a cacophony of little sounds. In the moments where she heard a twig behind her snap, she had to ask herself five times is this truly outside of me? before turning to meet nothing. Anticipation building so that every turn seemed to be the one where she would catch it. 

She felt sure of it. So sure that she let the feeling creep up closer and closer. Raw and palpable like she could feel its breath or the warmth of skin. She lowered her eyes during these times and walked slowly. Her breath was slow. Slower still. Deeper. And instead of everything tightening to brace herself against the interaction. She let go further and further. Each release was dizzying and though her heart sometimes raced, she slowed. Occassionally to a halt. Then the five questions and she turned.

Again, nothing. But somehow that felt like a victory in it of itself.

beyond the veil

Imagine that the night sky is a blanket made of deep velvet that you could wrap around you. A bird with dark wings flies by. Qiuetly. Softly. Barely makes a sound. Sound of a whisper. Just a flicker of motion in the dimly lit sky. Reflected back in the still water below.

The girl thinks to herself. The girl imagines. The girl watches this graceful bird trace a line across the sky. She watches the moon high above. The moon that looks like it’s singing, so she sings back. 

Her voice carries across the air. Across a valley. A canyon. A stream. Rivers. Oceans. Into the mountains. She sings a song with no words, only voice. Only notes that rise and fall. A melody that stills the very still forest. A voice that accompanies the flying bird smoothly gliding by. Into the night. Into the beyond.

It’s as if she can see this veil. And she knows where the bird flies to. She sings and beyond the veil, they listen. They know how to answer her. They come up with ways to respond. But it’s an acorn that drops suddenly into the water creating endless ripples. The start of these very many rings is what catches her attention.

She finishes her song. Because really it’s a compliment. It’s but another gentle guide into the night. And she smiles to herself. And those beyond the veil laugh with her recognition. 

bed under starry skies

She had a dream of being in a house. 

She had a dream of being surrounded by loving, welcoming, smiling people.

These were not the same dreams.

She felt safe again. She wasn’t sure if she should, but in the dream, she realized both in the house and at the place with many people, that people were welcoming her. Were taking her in. Were giving her a place. Wanted her to be there. Wanted her to feel comfortable. And happy.

And the tightness in her throat was not from the kind of hurt that normally came up. Rather, it was a release. It was overwelming. Encouraging, but overwhelming as she stood there among all the people who wanted to embrace her and greet her. People who wanted to know how she’d been. People who were familiar because and yet not at the same time.
The same with the house, which had been given to her. There for her as long as she wanted to use it. Always open. The door was never locked from her. And whether it was in between things, just a temporary spot, or some place she wanted to be indefinitely, she didn’t know. Only that she felt comfortable here. The kind of comfort, deep-seated like things were finally settling down.

In the middle of the night, all around her in the forest, insects chirping to one another. A bed of green below wide, ever-expansive starry skies. She stirred, and then was quiet. She slept soundly throughout the night.