The places where the forest has been kind to me have come to carry a certain mystique. Ample, inviting glades, the crossings of tenebrous paths, minute clearings where, at just the right time of day, enigmatic flights of shadow and color spring forth from the cobweb-like branches, brakes of fallen trees with rebellious roots like gaunt, imploring hands. A wealth of memories gathered in these places makes me return expecting more. And even though man plans, and God laughs, the thrills of the scenery turn my hope into certitude as I wait for ‘the beasts’. ‘There’s no chance they won’t show up. Not here…’ Left to its own devices, imagination is working. Deer could well pass through those beech trees; pretty soon, there’s bound to be some wild boar rooting in those oak shoots. If only the wind doesn’t betray my scent! My eyes gaze intently all around and, under the assault of my own fictions, time flies. As the edges of things give way to dusk, deceptive contours quicken my pulse. Yet, as the cold sinks in, so does the realization that this time, it wasn’t meant to be. But next time, for sure!
I’d let myself get tangled up in old memories, that afternoon. The shadow of the forest was rising quickly over the glade as they appeared, frolicking. Two roebucks, barely a year old.
Their soft and velvety horns, like long fingers of a glove, were no match for their joy at having discovered competition. In fits and starts, they would run and ‘brake’ suddenly. They would circle each other tensely, as if weighing up their endowments, ‘weapons’ crossed menacingly, ready to strike…
But the attack never came. Tirelessly, they would start over again. A lengthy warrior dance of soft touches. They way brothers do.
March 22, 2016