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I look out the window, my forest in sight – a black bristling mass ensconced in the bright bluish-white light that is the snow. I stare for a while, entranced, music in my head. I am coming.

I take my dog and walk out the door. Anticipation rises… and falls echoing my breathing. Will they be there?

It is cold, very cold. The exhale lingers in front of my face, a thick cloud of white steam. The night is still as time itself. I am close. I move slowly but steadily, every step a celebration of the purifying solitude. The dog darts around me, an extension of myself, a sixth sense.

We are alone, at last. I feel quietly exhilarated if only a bit scared. But that’s good. Fear is a creative force.

We advance along the tree line, a frozen meadow melting into it. We are listening, making stops and taking in the air as if for clues of their presence. But they would never give themselves away like that.

Suddenly, the dog disappears into the trees for a moment and then peeks out happily, tongue hanging out, inviting me in. I hesitate and cross the line into the dark comfort of the forest. Not a sound.

I sit under a tree, looking up, waiting. They are watching, I sense it. Somehow I imagine them having bright-orange eyes, almost as if filled with fire. They are deep, prolonged and all-knowing. Of course, I have never seen them. There is no need. I can hear them. With my skin, with my whole body.

My eyes are closed. I am dancing. I am one with the trees.