Knotted roots permeate the path before me, bursting through the soil as they fight to reclaim paths forged by human feet. I shrink as the trees press down on me from either side, bending to the will of the gale which blows through their canopies. Such confinement might feel oppressive in other circumstances—but today, it feels like an embrace. Willows and birches usher me deeper into the forest. The dark afternoon grows darker still.
As quickly as the darkness enveloped me, it loses its grip to daylight ahead. I shrink again, struck by the vulnerability of the open field I emerge into. The air is thick with the promise of a storm. While storm clouds are often described as rolling, these are anything but; thick, shapeless smears of grey smattered haphazardly across the sky, impassive and unmoving. A childlike part of my brain wills the clouds to burst; I long to run for cover, to laugh with delight as fat raindrops adorn my face like freckles.
I teeter on the precipice of rain which never came.
I must cross the open space in order to reach the other side. I do so with haste, fastening my jacket against the biting cold. The siren call of the woods is magnetic; something primal tells me that the trees mean safety. Overhead, a kestrel exchanges blows with the wind, battling to keep its place in the sky.
Just as my ears begin to ring with the cold, the forest swaddles me in its verdure. The wind dies down, dropping to a hushed whisper. Nature unfurls before me. Verdant waves of bracken, capped with a cow parsley foam; the intoxicating scent of honeysuckle, enough to make your mouth water; the caress of leaves which brush tenderly against my arms. I want to live in this moment forever—but I can’t. Dark clouds gather behind me. My journey isn’t over yet.
Recently, I fell out of love with writing. It began to feel like a chore; I was writing for other people, not for myself. This piece marks the beginning of me rekindling my relationship with the hobby I used to enjoy so much.