The Pull of the Forest
Frantic, I race through traffic, lights, and noise towards the edge of the forest. Honking horns and revving engines drown out the sound of my feet on the pavement. My mind is sharp and alert, my body tense and ready to react amongst the cars, trucks and bikes.
I exhale completely as I reach the periphery of the forest. Standing here, I’m on the edge of a vortex. City noise and lights swirl wildly around me, consuming my awareness and dulling my senses. One more step and I’m overwhelmed by a centripetal force pulling me into the heart of the trees.
As I enter the dark thicket, the temperature drops and dense fog surrounds me. No longer can I see through the wall of trees to the streets beyond.
I enter the deeper woods, leaving the turbulent perimeter far behind. It’s dark here. Silent. Peaceful. I breath in the stillness, the tranquility, letting it enter my lungs and flow through my body. I could stay here forever.
My heart rate drops, my muscles unclench. I feel an overwhelming calm. Here amongst nature the outside world falls away. A heaviness, I didn’t realize I was carrying, steals off into the trees. Left, is me and my need to move. My need to love. My need to frolic in nature. Here, light in heart and spirit, I dance with the trees and sing to the birds. I lose myself in the fog.
I’m careful to stay away from the forest edges, where the thunderous noise of daily life can be still heard. I will escape it for as long as my body will allow me. I want my feet to carry me on these woodland paths, in endless circles, until I’m dizzy from the fresh air and exertion. I want to live in this kind of calmness and joy until I can’t stand it anymore.
Then a thought creeps in, breaking the repose. A task needing attention, an appointment to keep, these forces pull me back towards the city, back to the forest edges. I know my time today in this state of peace is done, but I resolve to come back. To make time to push through the gales of life and enter the core of all that is comforting to me.
I stand again at the perimeter of the trees, this time facing out towards the hurricane of sounds and motion beyond. Yet I feel different from when I entered. I feel ready to be out there again, in the chaos, at least for a while. At least until I feel the vortex of the forest pulling me back, the sweet serenity enveloping me once again.