It’s not quite in a forest; it’s just a walkway behind the back of a school, that’s slightly overgrown in some parts with large trees in it. The path is man-made running straight through the forest. It’s supposed to be for bikes; they use it often but you can walk on it too. In autumn squirrels roam the trees; you can hear them snapping branches and see them scrambling from tree to tree. Though it’s best not to stop and watch them for too long; the autumn air will nip at your ears and nose making them sting a bit.
In summer the berries that sprout from the tree can be smelt. They aren’t very nice; it really shows only a fool to take one and eat it. To birds, they’re fine but to humans… they can have a few unpleasant effects. The part that travels through a small grove of trees is home to the whines and whistles of the wind. Branches creak, and in the depth of the night if you stand still you can hear their moans, the words they cry. Some are illiterate jumble; others may hold some importance to you. It’s best not to stand for too long in the dark; they don’t tolerate eavesdroppers very long.
In spring, when it’s not quite warm the birds will give hushed calls to each other - checking their homes. They twitter and tweet, giddily laughing at your presence. Oh they laugh at you in the spring, they are scornful pests and curse you with their mask of cheery songs - but you love it. We all do. Their gossip flows through their songs like wildfire. If briefly now you slow your pace and pause to listen to their high-pitched words, maybe you’ll feel enlightened by their squawks of nonsense but if you do, remember do not wait too long for their scornful tweets may come closer to where you’re weak.
In winter there are no birds. In winter the trees are asleep, their leaves have fallen away and the ground is barren. In winter whispers do not wander. In winter you must be quick. In winter harsh winds may bite your skin, and burn the tip of your nose and rim of your eyes. Squirrels do not break branches but branches will break. Feet may not hit the ground but footsteps shall be made. Do not break pace - though blind they watch. If winter day does not chill your bones, travel through at night with quick steps. In winter’s night when you wonder if that shadow on the ground is really yours. In winter’s night when you twitch at every sound made. In winter’s night when cold bristles your skin turning your cheeks to a ruddy cherry as you peer down each darkened twisting corner. There are no lights on this particular trail and once it curves away from the school all light is vanquished. Don’t fear it, keep pace as you walk. The sight may be dead, but you do not need to be afraid. You aren’t alone. Never have you been, so would you now, in the cold spikes of the dark winter night, stand still and wait for just a second too long…
And listen to the crunch of feet, not your own.
Written by ArinieKat