The stones shudder under my shoes, stuttering down the incline as I slide through the dust. My foot catches a root and I stumble into the spongy surface of a trunk. A starling chuckles at me from above. It lifts away on iridescent wings.
The path is cool, with a humid breath pressing against the maternal canopy of green. Warp-sided trees line the way, bowing in like genial hosts with wide spread arms. The immense embrace coddles me and I feel a deep untensing, loosening, of something I never remembered having tensed.
I duck under an arthritic branch that quakes at my touch. The spindle-thin twigs pluck at me like a fussy aunt, all robin giggles and wet, green eyes. The light has become dappled and slips from my skin as I tentatively nudge my way between tender budded twigs.
The world is muffled. The static-crackle noise of the city dulls, muted into a memory.
One of the trees is a mass of white-shrouded shoots that sway in the air. Supple leaves obscure its curves in a modest veil, guarding the dark hollow of its heart. I sweep the foliage over, gather a breath of sweet moisture, and step into the heart of the tree.
Nature breathes in the rustle of wings. It chuckles in the click-tack of hopper legs across the trail. It winks playfully in the backs of a thousand fish in miriad ravines. I breathe with it.