My life so far has seemed a struggle to be heard,
But lately I think that maybe I have nothing to say.
Nothing more than a bucket of empty words
Bundled together in a useless way.
The wind whispered through the trees, brushing gentle fingers across branches weighted down with heavy leaves. Dripping from the sky like a leaky faucet, the rain slipped along the bark on its way to the soft earth below. Water pooled in cupped leaves until the weight grew too much and the side gave way, spilling its collection to the ground as though pouring out an offering in supplication. Rich earth gave way with every drop of rain, welcoming the moisture before channeling it to the thirsty roots of the age-old oak trees that it covered.
Shadowed by rain-laden branches, I couldn’t see much more than a few steps in front of me. I stepped forward anyway, knowing the trail was there, even if I couldn’t see it. It was a path I had taken often, winding through tree trunks far too wide to stretch my arms around. No rain made it through the canopy of their outstretched branches, the only water seeping down trunks covered in gnarled bark. I placed my hand against the nearest tree, imagining I could feel its heart beating as strongly as mine did. Imagining I could hear its voice, whispering answers to all of the questions I had never dared to ask aloud; never dared to even put into thought. As though scared that to think of them was to give them life, power, a voice.
I sighed, shaking my head, and turning my gaze back to the path ahead. There was no time for thinking. The rain dampened light was fading, and what little enough made it through the ceiling of branches woven and tangled together was quickly disappearing. I stepped forward, careful to avoid tripping over the exposed roots showing from where years of erosion had pushed them away from the soil. I was yet far from home, and I had stayed too long in this part of the woods that were the darkest.
I think that maybe I love this place,
That maybe this dark and rain-shaped night could be my home.
With the light quickly fading and water slipping from my face,
I turn my back on my peaceful castle of water, trees, and loam.
Once, lost within the forest, I had stumbled upon this grove. This tangled web of trees was as old as any I had ever seen. It was like crossing into another world; time no longer seemed to carry substance and all I knew almost seemed to fade until the only thing real was the heavy air and the comforting darkness of the sheltering branches and towering trunks. I came here when the world burned too hot and my soul needed rest and peace. It was dangerous though, I knew. It was the type of place to lose yourself in. When nothing else matters but that sense of completion and contentment, what possible reason could one have for leaving? The longer I stayed, the harder it was to leave. As was evidenced by the fact that I was now stumbling through the forest in the ever-encroaching dark.
This was to be my last visit here. I had promised myself that. My family needed me too much for me to lose myself in the warm embrace of the grove. If I ever came back, I did not know if I would have the strength to leave again.
Loss pulled stronger at my heart as I moved further away from the heart of the grove. A few more steps and I would be away; back to everything that drove me here to seek shelter in the first place. I sighed, and my steps faltered, longing squeezing my heart with a pleading fist.
Yet I could not stay.
Peace must be earned, not simply found. So I turned from the peace I had discovered. Stumbling forward through the dark and twisting maze ahead, knowing that one day I would earn the right to a place where I could feel safe and content. Perhaps even one that was not quite so dark and lonely.