The Forest For The Trees

A boy wanders into the forest, unknowing and childish. He touches the trees, the leaves and insects on the ground. But, he feels unsatisfied, like that is not enough. Soon he realises, you can't see the forest for the trees.

-Entry for Adam and Jodie's Ultimate Competition!-

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His father had said, "You can go as far as the trees, but no further."   

When he got to the trees, he discovered there were more trees, so he looked at them. Then, there were more trees behind those trees, and now all the trees looked alike and he couldnt see the house anymore.    

However, there were lots of things to look at, and look he did. But soon, he grew bored of looking. All the trees looked the same, as did the leaves on the ground and the mushrooms on the trees. The colours were too similar as well, the boy was sick of seeing hundreds of shades of green, brown, yellow and blue. They all blended and mxed together, his vision slightly intoxicated. He wanted to smell and touch. The niggling fear in his mind was dwindling, and soon it became nothing.    

He slumped at the bottom of a tree, letting the cool, dank air seep through his clothes. He shivered once or twice, then closed his eyes. He breathed deeply, smelling the earth and rotting leaves. He smelled the living leaves, the muskiness of mould on the dead ones, and the fungi that grew between the cracks of the tree roots. He smelled the rain that might fall, and the rain that might not, and the rain that had already fallen.    

He dug his fingers into the earth, feeling the soggy, repulsive soil and leaves. It seemed a thousand insects and worms squirmed, running, attempting to escape his prison-like fingers.    

He reached out, not with his limbs but with his soul. At first it was like a pool in his stomach, quietly simmering away, but he pushed it, helping it flood out into his arms and legs, dripping to his fingers and toes, then let it dampen the soil.  

"Careful, that's my life essence." he whispered. He became one with the forest, imagining and creating as a child is wont to do. He did not know how long he stayed there, but when he next opened his eyes his father was standing over him, with the blinding light of a torch in his hand.    

The trees had succumbed to the rising moon.   

"Thank god." His father grabbed him. "If you ever... Oh god. I thought I'd lost you." 

"I'm sorry daddy." 

"Sh, don't worry. I just thought... I thought you'd got lost, like mummy did." The father didn't need to mention mummy never came back. The boy was swung on his father's shoulders, and as they drew nearer the house, the boy spotted a particular tree.   

At the bottom, his mother sat with her eyes closed, much like the boy had done. He could feel her soul.    

The boy never told his father. He didn't want to explain that mummy wasn't lost.   

 

She was more at home than she'd ever been. 

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