What the Forest Said
All of it. Any of it. Just—something vivid.
I was walking.
And there were two deer.
Yes, whitetails, flashing alarm. They heard the dog. I didn’t tell him; he was looking for a good stick, something nice to throw. The deer flipped their tails and danced away. I could see reflections of yellow beech leaves in the eye of one of them, turned toward me: she was that close.
Tell me another.
I don’t know what to tell you.
Six or seven of them, exploding from the underbrush with wing-beats so loud I ducked. The dog ran so fast he ran right out of the orange t-shirt I put on him to differentiate him from bear.
It’s bear season. They’re shooting bears.
He treed them.
The bobwhites. They were furious.
I bet he was proud.
You’re going to leave, aren’t you.
Probably. There isn’t much left.
There is. There could be—
One more. Tell me one more.
Once I walked into the woods and there was only one way: further in. I walked and walked, and I was fierce and beautiful and brave and resourceful and I had many adventures, but I was getting tired. Very tired. I couldn’t walk any more, finally; I couldn’t be fierce and beautiful and resourceful and brave any more. Also? I was bored with myself. With all of it. I dug a fire-pit, lined it with stones. I gathered wood, and made a fire. I was so hungry, but I had nothing to eat and I was too tired to do anything else, so I sat by the fire and watched the flames. I figured I’d probably die of starvation eventually, but really, the flames felt good and I couldn’t think what else to do. A stag came out of the forest, walked right up to the edge of the fire across from me. We looked at each other for a long time, and I thought: how beautiful. After a while, he lay down across the fire and split himself open, his blood steaming in the coals. I ate his flesh, and was restored.
That didn’t happen.
I saw a peregrine eat a bat today.
You’re going, aren’t you.
I have an idea.
When I go, just look away.
Now? Should I look away now?