Her ragged breath escaped her lungs, creating a cloud of water vapour, adding to the misty haze already floating over the damp forest clinging onto the tops of the ancient conifers.
And her feet; how they gracefully stroked the rocky undulating forest track. An eternal rhythm, an eternal pace, an eternal awareness that she was traveling forward using the power formulated by her own two feet. How truly mesmerizing was it that she felt so alive in this forest wilderness; surrounded by nothing but her own frantically beating heart and all that the untamed habitat around her possessed.
She was not in nature. She was simply part of Mother Nature. An unspoken alliance was built with the tall trees surrounding her. A deep understanding; no matter how far she swerved along the path, flying on silent strides, breathing in the damp, fresh, wood-like air. And, no matter how exhausted she felt; if there was ever a time when each stride forward felt heavier and more laborious than the last, as the monotony of dragging her slight frame up a lung-bursting ascent became too much. All she would need to do was stop. Draw to halt and simply take a moment to survey the spectacle of nature.
This was performed now as her legs screamed for their need of oxygen at the summit of a lengthy climb. Her body and mind had carried her to a new height, well above the forest. The misty cloud had parted and given way to rays of sunbeams which penetrated her skin just as they penetrated the earths'. The girl held her sweaty hands on her pounding head and sighed a sigh of contentment for there was a panorama of stunning, wild landscape all around. At that moment, she could conceive the idea her own flesh, body and mind was just a tiny speck in the enormity of the universe. These had to be the moments she lived for. She was not to be tamed and neither was nature; as they worked together in harmony.
A wave of new strength pulsed through her body, unravelling from her feet, right through to the top of her head. There was a gentle nudge, a forceful ache arising from deep within her soul. She needed to move her body once more and feel the gentle breeze caress her face. The descent was waiting for her and she graciously obliged after lingering to steel one last glance, committing the image to memory. She would need to obtain that photograph later.
She tore down the single track, descending as fast as her body and the laws of physics would allow. Her limbs; a tangle of blurring momentum. The wind; rushing in her ears, and her eyes; streaming tears of sheer velocity but also tears of happiness. This was the closest she could get to flying and she had never felt so alive.
Each jarring bend caused her rhythm to change. Moving swiftly, dancing over the terrain that seemed to laugh with amusement at her gleeful sense of wonder. It was only natural that a monumental mouthful of joy escaped her lips and filled the eerie silence. She encompassed the forest with these sounds, scattering the notes as if she was the conductor of this marvellous created kingdom. She was soaring on pure, raw human emotion with her senses activated to their highest heights.
All too soon, the forest floor began to level off slightly and with it her legs began to move less frantically. Her muscles and bones were slowly able to relax into a settled rhythm once more. She began to stare up, towards the tops of the tallest trees, enchanted by the stories they must have to tell of lives and adventures gone by. She almost stumbled into a lone deer, gracefully racing over the dirt path. Stopping dead at the same time, the two creatures stood eye to eye. One; chest heaving, breathless from the exhilarating descent. The other; calm and motionless, more confident than fearful, as if knowing the girl would do no harm.
Fascinated by the deer's continuous gaze, the girl extended her arm outwards; silently pondering whether the deer would agree to be touched. She longed to feel its warm fur beneath the palm of her hand. Alas; the spell was broken and the deer made off into the thicket, not wanting to make contact with the foreign human world. For the girl, just feasting her eyes upon the deer would have to be enough today.
Again, commencing her movement along the winding paths through the trees, the girl began to realise she would soon be transported back to reality. To a modern world far away from this peaceful, tranquil place. The forest haven conjured up a magical, mystical atmosphere, where in the shade and amongst the protection of the great trees, time seemed to slow and she had space to breath, think and ultimately; live rather than exist.
She always felt a pang of regret as she drove away from her blissful sanctuary. A pang, often replaced by a feeling of protection. She knew deep in her heart she would return tomorrow to run her well-trodden path once more. In person or to explore in her dreams; either way would be enough. To once again, run wild hand in hand with nature’s paradise.