I walked through my forest, stepping over humongous tree roots, green covered veins pumping life to the heart of my peace. I was familiar with this place. Towering trees, trunks thicker than cars shooting into the skies, although those contraptions were not known to this unsullied place. I stared in wonder at the extraordinary beauty as I did every time I came here. It was quiet, still, a place of undisturbed silence. It beckoned me to it. This was my forest.
I navigated my way through the dense woods, my foot becoming caught in a root, causing me to fall. My skull felt broken, as if pieces of it were missing. I put my hand on my forehead, something wet covering it. I put my palm out in front of me, regaining focus of my vision. Blood. The sudden realization of what happened hitting me harder than my fall. I had never been hurt here before.
I felt my pupils dilate, my body beginning to shake, with one enormous release of air I let out a scream that rocked the frame of my body….as I thought. I looked around confusedly, breathing in again and attempting to let the air out with a high pitched shriek. Silence.
I thought back to all the times I came here. I had never spoken because there was no one to talk to. My footsteps never made a sound. My joyful cooing over the supposed beauty of the forest never traveled past my lips. Even when I fell there was no thud. No sound despite the loud shattering of my heart. Suddenly, this was no longer my forest.
The enormity of the trees were suddenly overwhelming, the crisp air suffocating, and the piercing silence deafening. This forest was unusual, there was no wildlife. No birds chirping or squirrels jumping from tree to tree to disrupt the quiet. No breeze rushed through the unbreathing lungs of the dead wilderness. No brush covered the sun starved ground. Not one leaf ever fell from the plentiful amount of trees that went on seemingly forever. Roots stretched across the forest floor like hideous snakes.
Everything I once found beautiful about this place is now twisted and ugly. This was my forest, a place of peace. A place I could go to forget. Or was it ever that? Was I just tricking myself into believing that this place I could not escape was everything I ever wanted. As if I had a choice of coming back. As if I ever left.
I know now what this place is. There is no hope, there is no beauty. I can no longer pretend that what I see is anything but grotesque. I lay on the ground and watch as flames appear, the reflection of fire in my eyes, devouring everything that once was and ever will be of my forest.
I don’t know how long it was before I realized that I could finally feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. How long I laid in the ashes of my sorrow before I realized that there wasn’t just a nothing after my forest was gone. Before I realized that I was staring into the sky, not a black hole.
I felt sensations I had never felt before. No, I had a long time ago before my forest had ever grown here. Slowly I sat up, surprised to find that my body no longer ached. Blood no longer coated my forehead. All that was left of my forest was ash. My forest was gone.
Then I saw it, pink petals spread as if waiting to receive something long overdue. A splash of color amongst the charred blacks and greys of my past. I stared in wonder at the extraordinary beauty. A breeze rushed through the reviving lungs of my hopeful perseverance, carrying the ashes of my denial away.
A vibrant green covered the ground, roots no longer hindering it from spreading throughout the area. Getting up and walking to the flower only to be cast onto my knees once again. How undeserving I was. I stared at it, doing something I had never done looking at my forest. I smiled. This was my flower.