The Blackened Forest

June 2, 2008
A blissful breeze kissed my cheek as it swiftly swept though the lush forest. Twilight echoed from perpetual moonlight fulfilling the sky in a vast eternal essence of unknown wonder. Dewdrops glistened on petals, as they carousel above the calm water, enticing a watchful eye with beauty. With every step I take, I feel more enveloped in the humid air that surrounds me. Trees whisper to me, in soft, melancholy tomes while I run my finger tips slowly down their bark, feeling every ridge, reading every sentence as if it was on paper.

I sat down on the hard ground next my dog, coaxing his velvet fur watching the small fire in front of me lick the life out of logs I’ve collected in the forest. I wasn’t worried about sleeping alone out here, besides, my family lives just outside this forest. The fire was dimming, and I decided to get some wood, I got up and brushed the dirt on my pants, I walked slowly savoring every second of the night. I picked up any big branches I could find; sometimes I had to break them so they were easier to carry. Soon, I had enough branches to feed the fire’s hunger for the rest of the night. I struggled to carry the large load up the pathless hillside, sweat speckles on my brow. I felt for my footing under the plantings, only to have the ground slip out from under me. Before I could react I was rolling, gaining speed more speed with every rotation down the slope and soon images were nothing but a green blur, all of the forest collaged together. My body endured many rocks that cut into my pallor skin. I continued to roll when at last I took an agonizing blow to the head from a large rock. My body slowly shut down. The small fire which I was tending began to grow as it crept between the rocks which held it restrained. It spread across the ground in a wave of stifling heat. Soon, it would engulf the forest and so much more.

I remember waking up in a hospital bed not remembering who I was, or what had happened, it was like my mind was now a clean slate. I remember my eyes opening wearily. A doctor soon, realizing I was awake, asked kindly for my name. I couldn’t answer; I was puzzled, confused, worried and scared. I felt a throbbing pain deep in my head, I remember trying to raise my arm to touch it, but I was far too weak. I was informed that I was rescued by firefighters trying to put out the fire that had devastated the forest. I didn’t remember being rescued, I didn’t remember the forest, and I was mortally lost.

As I visit the forest with my dog, things have changed. Now all I read are the scared marks of fire, marks that can never be undone, only covered. So many memories were lost. With every step I hear the charred remains of the forest scream in terror while smoke still cuirasses in the very heart of the air. My thoughts are tranquil as I give one last somber smile.

It’s been two years since I’ve been here. My memory has returned but I wish at times it wouldn’t have. I regained my memory slowly after my amnesia; certain things triggered my past, the forest, remains of my charred home and burnt items of my once living family. I still feel guilty of their deaths and overwhelmed with loneliness and sadness. It was my small fire that did all this destruction, everything I cared for has been scorched to ashes.

I recall coming back here right after I was out of the hospital. My past came back in fragments as I walked along trials, which I’ve traveled so many times. On one occasion something caught my eye, a small yellow flower sticking out of the ashes, rising above all. I never forgo that, maybe it was the forest saying it’s time to move on, time to start anew. Ever since then, I’ve always found myself coming back. And each time I come back, I’m a little stronger and so is the forest.

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