Soft feet tread silently over carpeted needles. Dark colours mute my eyesight, an otherworldly spectrum of greens and browns, oranges and blacks. The world is just metres away and yet I am transported, a portal, a safe haven from relentless news and views and disasters and catastrophes.
I walk on and old trunks rise twisted and gnarled, a lonely path to the sunlight, day after day after day, a simplicity of existence. Canopies spread out, branches stretching like arms, greeting the light, absorbing. Underneath the leaves I am small against this immensity. Human ego deflated, humble to time and to knowledge deeper than mine.
I come to sit and escape, to feel human once more, to feel and remember that connection to the earth. Safe, with my back against this rough bark. Safe, lungs filled with the scent of pine, of silence, of the cycle of life. Safe, small against the giants, young against the old, soft against stable.
Above, the winds tousle the tips of my friends, letting in slants of white-grey light, immediately grabbed away by dark greens as if the brightness only existed in memory. Down here on the ground, everything is still, the leaves dancing together above my head the only reminder of the world outside my cocoon.
And yet that stillness is illusory. How we find peace in the busyness of the forest, how we feel stilled in the chaos of diversity. I lie back, eyes closed, and feel instincts and senses begin to come to the fore. How easily we ignore our humanity, slowly killed by screens, by money, by greed. Here, I am only me. No online presence. No job defining my worth. Here we are one, and the trees know my soul.
I smell the familiar forest, thousands of plants mingling their own particular scent, dancing in the glade. I feel the moistness of the soil beneath me, rich, dark loam, layered by that endless cycle of life and death and life once more. My ears pick up soft sounds of birds flitting from tree to tree, wary of this stranger in their home, watching on with beady eyes. I sink and feel the life of the trees, roots and sap and rhizomes, a communication on another level, a language beyond my comprehension, yet a life force we are all part of.
I lie undisturbed as the forest continues around me. My body finds an indentation in the blanket of pine as I breathe, and watch, and think, and become.