Written by: Anonymous
I put my car in to park and peered up through my windshield. The outskirts of this forest looked just like any other trail I’d hiked, except I couldn’t see the opening. This trail was also so far from town that it appeared to be totally empty, even the road here was void of cars and people, a total ghost road. This filled me with hope that here is where I would find the peace I had been seeking. I hopped out of my tiny Corolla and patrolled the treeline for a break in the thick brustle of tightly woven bushes and monochromatic green vines, accenting the hard shades of brown earth and tree trunks. I had a feeling about this spot but was almost ready to get back in my car before stepping close up the seemingly un-yielding wall of greenery. As I approached the plentiful flora a small opening appeared in the thicket, just wide enough for me to walk relatively comfortably down the path, perfectly alone, although I don’t believe that one is ever truly alone in nature.
I began meandering down the trail, awash in the purity of nature as a lightly chill wind brushed across my face and tousled my hair. The steady droning of the forest began to fill my ears as I moved deeper into the woods. Light bird calls, hums and buzzes of a plethora of insects, and the swish and sway of the plants that dominated the landscape filled my ears, setting my mind at peace. I lost myself in those woods. Metaphorically at first, but then literally. I drank in my surroundings and realized I was totally lost and turned around. The familiar pine, fir, and aspen trees that had lined the road were now replaced by willow, elder, and ancient oaks coated in thick mats of vines and thorn-laced brush. Even more bewildering though, was the path behind me, or rather the lack thereof. Any flattening or clearing of the plant life more than five feet behind me was totally grown over and looked as if it had been that way for years, judging by how tightly woven the branches and vines were. There was absolutely no way back now. I felt as if this should concern me greatly, but I felt the exact opposite. I was finally comfortable and sure of my decision as it seemed there was only one option, forward.
So forward I went, losing myself further in the increasingly winding, thickening, and darkening path ahead. I had now totally lost track of time as the trees had now blocked out all natural light. Lost in thought and growing vexation, I tripped over a slightly upright curl of root. Landing flat on my face, limbs and hair splayed all around and under me like tangled-up worms, I released a bout of obscenities to no one in particular. After laying in awe at my failure for a moment I pushed lightly-scraped palms into the soft earth below me and lifted my now filthy torso from the ground, bringing clumps of mud and moss back up with me. To my shock I had lifted my face from a bulky jagged rock, my blood splattering a scarlet halo around my head’s landing spot. The heavy copper smell of blood swam into my nostrils and filled my brain up with panic. I tried pulling my knees up to my chest, but was met with solid resistance. Both of my ankles were totally enthralled by dark stubborn roots, sluggishly climbing my legs like bundles of blind and bewildered serpents. My pupils spread and my eyes opened wide as I began tossing around in the dirt like an antelope caught in the jaws of a crocodile, but it was of no salvation. The roots had now taken a firm hold on my calves. Clawing and writhing in frenzy, I transformed into a rabid animal. I slashed around in the dirt until I was totally exhausted. By this point the roots were up past my waist and I was beginning to submit to death’s almost comforting embrace. Blood gushed from my wounded head and sparingly sharpened roots began entering my abdomen. I watched the roots penetrate my skin and send squirts of entrails covered in my crimson life, but felt only dulled aches. I lay in stillness as nature absorbed me. I could feel the light tickle of the bugs now, ripping off their own little pieces of me. Slowly I felt my body and soul meld with the greater amalgamation of the nature around me. I felt numbed pains all up and down my body as my organs fell from my fleshy prison and my soul began to mesh with the terrific beauty around me. Gradually, I felt gentle feeling return to me. I felt warm. I felt awash with love and knowledge. I am changed now. Part of a higher consciousness. Finally at one with the universe. Finally at peace.