Sun Kissed Yellow. Honey dipped Orange.
Plum purple. Vivacious green.
They crunched and crackled as my sandals dance across them.
Scenic, slowly dying, photosynthetic leaves.
The ground hummed beneath my feet, silently urging me forward.
I sang, following the soft melody of the forest, the harmonic whisper of the wind, tiny fingers catching air between them, only to let it go.
The sun danced through the tree tops, tickling my skin, and leaving it a soft golden. The birds chirped, tweeting merrily as the day came to an end.
And I lost myself in time.
Somehow I twirled off my normal path, the loud boom of crashing water awakening me from my dazed slumber.
My heart stopped…
…And with a pang, began again.
It’s waters were a crystal blue so clear I could see the eroded rocks beneath them; colorful fish swirled through its clear waters, white foam curling around its bottom like clouds.
I wonder what it would be like to land in those clouds? I wondered. To feel the wind urging me downward, to crash into those soft white waves, to pummel towards the waters icy embrace?
The forest went quiet, every sound thundering to a quiet crescendo.
I was no longer alone.
I turned slowly, trepidation crawling up my spine as I realized I was no longer safe….
It’s brown coat shone in the dwindling gaze of the sun, brown eyes simmering with interest. The five-year-old me turned, fear flashing across my face, the waterfall just a back drop to the rapid pounding of my heart.
The bear roared, a loud, feral sound, cocking its massive head as it yelled to the heavens.
My bones rattled. My legs quivered. Fear, bright and honest bubbled in my chest and burned through my mind.
Don’t run, a voice commanded, whispering through the deafening quiet. Stay still.
Something darted in front of me—a flash of black—there and gone before my brain could process its arrival. A roar, louder, deeper, full of power and raw strength rattled the earth, until even the waterfall paused in its magnificence.
There was a breath of silence between me and the bear. The waterfall and the flash of black.
My soft grey eyes met his heartless brown ones and my vision blurred, heat sliding down my cheeks…tickling my lips…my chin.
Don’t move...the voice whispered again.
Something flickered across the bear’s features; its lack luster brown eyes became hesitant then fearful. The roar sounded again, like the wail of a siren, a warning, like an alpha stating its authority, claiming its territory.
I felt the world tilt out of focus, my mind struggling to keep my body upright, failing, and trying again.
My body became weightless; I couldn’t feel my legs.
The last thing I saw was the bear slowly back away from me, and its wagging tail flash through the trees, before it disappeared…
…And the ground rose up to meet me.
-Jae Lei Nyght