God of the forest This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

I had to get away. The branches beat my face as I scrambled to make distance between myself and society. I couldn’t do it anymore; no one accepted me for who I was. I gasped as I stumbled upon a clearing, and fell to my knees. I lay there breathing in the seemingly silent air as the mid afternoon sun cast greenish light through the canopy of leaves. But I knew better, unlike others, I wasn’t ignorant to forests secrets. I made my way to the center of the clearing and found a good spot, circling it like a dog before I again let myself sink to the ground. People always thought I came here to be alone, but as I closed my eyes, I once again reached out to my surroundings. Although practiced in the art, opening my eyes to this magical, aged world still sent a sharp pain up my body, and I convulsed, helpless to the discretion of my puppet master. I took a deep breath, no, I must not lose myself, I am in control. I slowly enabled myself to comprehend the vastness of my surroundings. Every tree, plant, and animal interconnected in one endless ecosystem, the forest was alive.
When I was young, I used to have picnics in this forest with my parents. We would laugh and play, enjoying the relaxing break from the fast paced modern world. I would bounce around, hugging trees and calling them my brothers and sisters, inviting into my family. We would be silly and blissful, rolling around on the cool forest floor. I can still sense their blurred images dancing around me, preaching one of our newly thought up sayings; “I’d rather be a creature of nature, then a creation of culture” But those times were over now. I still held on to the trees though, because unlike my parents, they would live forever.
It was hard for me to understand this new translation of mom and dad. They were loving; good hearted people, but they weren’t the same. There generous and kind actions were welcome, yet unreceived. They knew I felt this way so they pushed themselves upon me more and more, drowning me and desperate love. Suffocating, I would run away to the only place I could really breathe, the forest. Since I had only moved I few doors down, I knew the way by heart, and my feet would lead me there subconsciously, whenever I was experiencing another of their spontaneous onslaughts.
Visiting the forest started to become a daily thing, as I become less and less in sync with reality. I would end up in the same clearing each time, finding comfort in the familiarity of the peaceful hollow. Circling into place, I would meditate on what used to be, and when I remembered my mother and father, I would be overcome with emotion.
One summer evening, where the warmth of the air seemed to hug me on all sides, I settled into my usual ritual and began to remember. When the surge of emotion came, it was stronger than I had ever felt it before, overpowering me and guiding me, like a colossal wave. All around me, my brothers and sisters began to awake in response to my calling. A great wind pushed through the forest, tossing the trees into giant leaps that left them drifting in what seemed like slow motion, toward the place where my uninhabited body lay. I gazed upon the scene with awe, this supernatural cataclysm causing the trees to implode toward the center of the forest. They all rooted themselves around me in an impenetrable ring of life. I screamed as my cosmic state was condensed down back into my original body. I slumped onto my true family, and held on tight because unlike my parents, they would live forever.





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