I'm not lost, but I wish I were. Here in this green, green place where tree tops disappear at dizzy heights into the mist, I feel small but wish I were even smaller. I sit down beside the trail, tucking my body in close to the earth, crouching, trying to disappear. The tangled ferns at my back are soft and dark and might be able to suck me in, but the hard earth below is a reality check.
The wind rises, and I catch the scent of dampness, a morning dew that never evaporates in this deep place. There's a sense of the cool earth too—swirling—as if something inside the dirt is trying to unite with the cold clouds overhead. The green needles shiver, rubbing together for warmth, and one of the great trees begins to groan. Its swaying is almost imperceptible, but I hear the sound of creaking bones—gentle, almost apologetic.
Relenting at last, the wind gives a soft death rattle and leaves us in dead silence. Now I know the trees have ears, and if I make a sound, they might hear. I hold my breath for so long my ears start to ring. One spellbound moment follows another, and I wonder if my lungs will burst or if I'll black out first.
Then a creature scampering through the underbrush breaks my torture with the gentleness of a blow to the head. The forest's spell is broken. I jump up, brushing needles off my lap, take a cold drink of water, and I'm on my way again. I know exactly where I'm going, but I wish I could wander here in circles until the clouds come to claim me.