In the Woods of the City

Photo by  Dustin Scarpitti

A short story.

Originally published in: Intimately Intricate

Her eyes gently flutter closed.

Looking inwards at the sensations, familiar and otherwise, cascading down the edges of her awareness, she settles into the bed of soft pine that cushions her seat.

Imaginary hands, strong yet affable, weave her spine upright, and from crown to tail she feels the welcomed refreshment that emanates from this space around her.

Inhale.

The scent of this treasured place possess a tenderness akin to the physical touch of the tree underneath which she sits.

Her tired muscles and wandering mind are once again afforded the respite that first brought her to this place.

Time passes.

Moments that somehow carry both the magnitude of years and the haste of seconds all at once pass her by.

As the girl’s mind inevitably begins its wandering, the wind ushers in a gentle breeze, lightly stroking her hair and nudging her back into presence.

The lake she faces, in its ever present stillness, laps at the not too distant shoreline of this wooded peninsula.

The girl feels, wonderfully, like she is the only person in the entire world.

Another deep, nourishing, belly breathe kneads its way into her depths.

The space around her continues to whisper, offering to take away that which she has wished to let go of.

A smile, sweet as the scent of the pine surrounding her, creeps onto her face, and she happily obliges the whispers’ offer.

Her shoulders, seemingly of their own volition, then roll downwards.

Down, down, down they roll, as does her awareness.

Downwards. Down 25 feet into the earth below her.

She feels tens, hundreds, thousands of pounds lifted off her shoulders.

A weight she is proud to have moved.

A weight she realizes needn’t have been carried in the first place.

Up, down, side-to-side spreads her awareness.

Expanding.

Filling.

Expanding.

Filling.

Expanding, filling, until the girl is 50 ft in width and equally as tall.

She remembers now.

Oh, how she remembers.

This is her normal.

This is why she always comes back to this place.

It is hers.

By right, by choice, and by practice.

Suddenly, a siren wails directly in front of her.

She smiles that sweet smile once again.

Her eyes flutter open, illuminating the truth of her physical surroundings.

She is on the wooded peninsula no longer.

Instead, she remembers her place in a small tea shop, situated in what those around her have been calling India.

But this is not the India that she once knew.

This is a new place. A new place that bears little resemblance to that India she thought she once knew.

Where before she experienced chaos, in the busy streets and loud corridors, she now sees only a sea of others with all the light and love and compassion that she has received from the pines.

The annoyance of siren’s is gone, replaced with the pride that comes from someone helping another.

The dust billowing in through the lacquered doors of this humble tea shop cakes her only with dirt, and not with the abhorrent feeling that she had learned to associate with it.

As she looks up from the steam wafting from her cup, she sees family.

Countless brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers.

She sees them.

Not the physical bodies that she used to see, that she used to judge. The ones that were distracted and worried and unconscious of what was going on around them.

She sees family.

She sees each person as a teacher, as a friend, as a student.

She sees that they are ready to be shown that the woods are always there, just as she has discovered for herself.

Her woods, their woods, the ones that are always available. Whenever remembered.