Melody of the Forest

July 16, 2012
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She shoves the stony brambles to the side; the cool winter’s air has made them stiff and a challenge for her nimble fingers to maneuver. After smacking away these inflexible sprigs diverting her path she reaches the barren winter landscape that she has been awaiting. The tiny twigs and baby branches snap easily beneath her workman’s boots as she treads through the desolate forest.

Her father has instructed her to find logs for the fireplace to ensure they don’t freeze in tonight’s brisk temperatures. Wood had become an expensive delicacy in her modern world, so her only option was to come to this decaying forest in hopes of finding some for free. It’s been years since she has set foot here, after the factories came and polluted the natural beauty she never had a reason to.

She flashes back to when she was just a little girl and she would sneak out of school to come on escapades here. That was before her small lumber community had become yet another industrialized city. As she thinks of her times here a surge of memories flood back into her mind and she is swept back into the place she once knew.

Her bare pink toes slide between slick emerald blades of grass and the warm summer winds blow her silky auburn hair to and fro in the breeze. The trees are not bare and reclusive like they are now, but lush and teaming with abundant life. She giggles as golden and crimson leaves swirl around her in an eternal dance, teasingly tickling her legs and playfully poking her arms. She bends down to prod those flowers with the pretty pink hue. The ones that look so soft but in secret have an unusual crispness that makes them fragile to the touch. Her eyes wander up the branches hanging above her where those bright blue birdies squawk threats at her to steer clear of their nests. It is not until they think she is gone they sing soft melodies, reassuring each other all is safe.

She is pulled back into reality as an especially chilly wind slaps her from the back. She shakes her head and tells herself how that was years ago and everything has changed now. Because now she lives in an iron city and the birds are trapped in iron cages.


She watches a gray plume envelops the air back in town. The smog is suffocating even here in the forest so she can’t imagine how bad it is in the city. She covers her mouth with a cloth and tries to pretend she can’t see it turning black from the murky air. She stares glumly at the trees surrounding her. They’re all dry and bony and she finds their lifelessness haunting. Her eyes flicker down to search the naked undergrowth for a hefty log to serve as her firewood. However, to her dismay, the forest floor is just as barren as the trees growing out of it. All that remains is shriveled up yellow grass, so different from the majestic emerald it used to be. No small critters scurry across the desolate landscape, any still alive are burrowed in the warm earth sleeping out this wicked winter. She finds it all very lonely. She misses the soft scuttles of these animals and the charming chirps of the birds, even if they were all just frustrated with her presence.
She snaps out of her depressing thoughts, they’re no use to her. She concentrates on finding a log, and within seconds her sharp green eyes manage to spot one that has been divulging itself so clearly she’s embarrassed she didn’t see it before. She picks it up in her bundled arms and takes a good look at it. It has an unpleasant smell that makes her crinkle her nose but it will do. She spends the next couple hours turning over logs that are far too damp and decayed to ever catch flame but manages to find a few that can be of use.

All of the movement in the frigid temperatures has taken a toll on her body and she’s exhausted. She throws herself down on the ice-cold rocky earth and just lays there for a moment. Even beneath her parka she’s shivering from the cold and choking on the iron air and her mood is far from positive. Her eyes stare glassily at the unfriendly gray sky peeking through the trees. For an instant her memory flickers back to a day when she was feeling the same frustration and laying in the same place under the trees but gazing up at a completely different sky. It’s a vibrant blue with marshmallow clouds and a golden sun sparkling in the clear air. She smiles and lets her eyes flutter close on the magnificent sky. And just before she seeps into her first pleasant slumber in weeks she’s sure she can hear the soft, sweet melody of the bright blue birdies singing the forest goodnight.





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