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November, 2017

Beneath the heavy blanket of mist that settles upon the hills and sinks in the valley, there is a child, walking barefoot through the forest. No damp, curling leaves or soft, sticky mud to gasp and gurgle around naked ankles. No beasts' eyes blinking in the brush, nor birds beating against the breeze.

The forest is asleep.

Their steps are respectfully silent, even as they creep along the well-worn paths and beneath the weary, sagging canopy that trickles the weak remains of rain from a storm.

They hesitate at the treeline, white gown catching on a lazy gust of wind. Beyond is the meadow and the haze of gold that peeks between the branches is waiting for them.

One more step. One more.

The wind blows in earnest now and they are running, running, as sure of step as the Huntress' deer. Every footfall shakes the flowers from their beds and sets the tender shoots to sprouting.

One more step.

Their feet hardly touch the sodden earth now. There are no more flimsy twigs to scatter, no fleeting tracks to set.

One more.

They feel the wind at their back when they jump at last and the blossoming burst that carries them up, up, up---higher with each careening spin. The gathered gown is a churning tempest, the coiling curls a windmill of motion as their fingers strain and stretch for the tops of the tallest trees. There is only the dainty fingerpainting of flecks of emerald and apple-green upon the shivering limbs. There is only the stinging spice of the earth's scent and the whisper of the wind through the trees. There is only the child and the waking forest.


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