An Excerpt from a Story Unknown
Without any conscious intention of doing so, I stepped off the path and began to walk through the thick stand of trees that stood as a wall to the forest. The air was cool amid the trees and the heady odor of rich soil and green growth seemed to enclose my body and permeate my soul to make me a part of, instead of an intruder to the forest. The light of the sun dimmed by the leaves danced shadows of light across the forest’s floor as a light breeze tickled the tips of the treetops.
I walked forward letting my instinct lead the way to my unknown destination. It was an uphill climb and treacherous at times with tangled thick roots that threatened to trip me to a fall. A flash of fear gripped me for a moment, as I thought of the climb back down and imagined falling down through these trees to end in a pile broken of bones and torn flesh, left to die unfound for several days, or weeks, or even years.
I shook the thought from my mind and continued on, glancing up to see if the end of my climb was visible. There was no end that I could see with my eyes, but I could feel the ground beneath my feet growing steeper. My ankles and calves ached with my efforts until I slipped to my knees, my hands clutching at the thick roots to pull me onward. Soon, I was now climbing straight up as though I was scaling the face of a cliff. I was beginning to think that there was no end to this mountain, when my right hand grasped solid, flat ground. With a sense of great relief, I reached my left hand up to join my right hand and scrambled my feet to find a sturdy root for a sufficient foothold. My feet slipped a couple of times in my efforts until they found a root strong enough to hold my weight and I stood upright to hoist my body to the flat surface of ground above me.
I lay flat on my stomach without lifting my head to look at my surroundings. I could smell the dry earth mixed with my own sweat. I was exhausted. Every inch of my body seemed to scream with pain, and I clutched at the sharp stitch in my side as I concentrated to bring my breathing and heart rate back to a normal rate.