The child's breath came in short puffs as she scurried along the forest floor. Light peered through the canopy above, casting an eerie glow across the scene. Splashes of color appeared in forms of the changing leaves, and there was a wool sort of mild morning breeze in the air. She ran. Simply for the joy of being able to run. The balls of her bare feet came off the ground. Her dark brown hair whipped behind her, catching twigs and a few unsuspecting spider's webs. But it didn't matter. None of it mattered as long as she was running. Pure adrenaline coursed through her small body as she soared over a rotting log lying in her path. Landing sent a shock up her back, but she didn't stop. She would never stop. The smells of the forest caught up with her, running along side her in the midst of a sensory overload. It smelled fresh. That's what she loved about these forest runs. Everything about it was freedom to her. The wind caressed her cheek as she broke onto the plains, three branches still cling to her as if reluctant to let the child go. Elated still, and with the larger stride of the open field, she started to fly faster, the wind stinging her ears as she soared. She ran further still, down to the bubbling creek and across the bridge, splashing the water playfully before landing on the soft mud. She kept on as the ground grew more solid beneath her and the mud dried on her toes. She ran through an apple orchard, stirring up the sweet smelling petals as they fell to the ground. She came to a small dirt path leading up over a hill and ending at an old white farmhouse. Finally deprived of her former energy, she sat down on the creaky wrap around porch to the greeting of the farm cats. She giggled, "You just think I have food, don't cha" Sorry kitties, I don't have anything for you." She held her hands out palms up and shrugged her shoulders as if to convey the message to the cats. They meowed and one of them sniffed her empty hand. Slowly, one by one they left, surely going to find some sort of trouble to get into somewhere else on the farm, such as knocking over the milk pails or terrorizing the chickens. She smiled to herself and stretched out her legs on the steps. She leaned back on her arms to catch her breath from the exhilarating run. The sun was well into its morning routine, reaching about a quarter length into the bright sky above her head. The scene seemed to be colored with splashes of orange and brown. Fall was well upon the valley.
February 21, 2011