I could not resist the call of the forest surrounding my hotel. Pulling myself away from a the crack called twitter, I pulled on my sneakers, trench coat and went out into the European dusk.
The air was thick with darkness, the last bit of light filtering through the high canopy. I thought for 1 second, that it might be crazy to go for a walk in an unknown forest in the middle of nowhere. And I didn't even have a flashlight or pocket knife on me. But never, mind, I've done this before.
My eyes adjusted to the lower light. The gravel path turned to forest bark. The moist silence descended on my soul. The light became shadows as I walk deeper in the forest. The silence became thicker. Surrounding me. I surrendered to the present.
I stopped in a crossroads. Standing and listening. A faint rustle. Leaves falling. Then the wind. The wind blowing in the trees. The wind blowing through the forest. Hearing first the wind. Then feeling it across my skin. Breathing it in. Remembering how I love the wind. A bench appeared and I rested. Soaking in the silence and wind and rustling leaves. Drinking it in.
Then off in the distance, dark trench coat, a mirror image of myself, picking her way along the path. I stand, ready to fight, but it's not time. We will just have a conversation. She will remind me. When the time comes, I will gratefully release to her all that I am, and start a new journey. I ask her to remind me of this often, lest I grow complacent and fail to express any pedaco of potential, fail to create the most unbelievable life I could ever (and not) imagine.
I remember my previous dances. The sacrifices I made. My stumbles and missteps on the path with heart. I recently began wearing a reminder of my greatest sacrifice. It's potent. And doing it's job.
Through the darkest part, I heard an Owl. Then the rustling of some creature. I looked into the woods, could see nothing in the darkness. I remembered my afternoon hikes in high school - bush whacking along Indian paths, finding dilapidated ruins. I wondered if any predatory animals lived in this forest. I expected not - or if so, well fed. The fields of this area are lush. The owl continued. I thought that Red Riding Hood must have been told in forests like these. I could believe the fear of the wolf pack. But I expect to come face to face with Coyote or a Bobcat in Griffith Park. Although I had been visited by a Coyote of a different sort.
Off in the distance I saw light streaming through the trees. I thought about the warmness that one would feel, if one had really been traveling by foot in a forest. It turned out to be a truck, packing some things up. Blinding me as I returned to civilization. A rebirth? A re-member. Returning, holding the knowledge, the feeling, to keep the present, from the past to savor, remember in the ever-present.