Cedar boughs fanned the dry air and maple boughs lent a splash of color to the dense forest. A motion of frenzy inhabited the trees, reaching almost to the towering crests of the cedars where the sparrows flitted to and fro with the swallows, and the high airs gave a lofty safety to those of flight. Beneath the upside of greenery, in the earth tones of shade, upon the limbs of every tree, there were squirrels and raccoons alike, quivering in their perches, occasionally scrambling from tree to tree.
Though this world of nature was full of life, there was something not quite right. The air smelled wrong, and the breeze brought the unfamiliar salty scents of the ocean. An ominous presence was taking the forest, devouring it, and sending the animals fleeing into the trees. It was a gripping presence that claimed the entire forest floor and crept onwards, covering more ground with every fatal moment.
The trees were the only haven. Down the bark towards the forest floor, down the drooping boughs towards the land, down with the falling leaves, and then abruptly--the wall, the surface: harsh, cold, wet, devouring all, drowning all, covering all.
The ocean passed between the trees with the presence of an impossible ghost.
It lapped the tough bark of the cedars and sent swirls of brown soil to the steaming, frothing surface, the surface of the impossible beast.
It crept up the slopes of the ridges, gaining elevation like an impossible traveler.
The trunks emerged from the ocean, standing tall and still, sheltering the waters from the sun, sheltering the impossible invasion.
The ocean belonged out in the open. Now it crawled within every burrow and between every twig of every bush. It seeped its way into the crevices between rocks, it washed away the peaceful creeks, it swallowed the moss, it suffocated the land.
And then: a splash, a trickle, a bump of wood on wood. And a canoe glided out between the trees, its sole passenger sweeping a paddle gently through the calm waters. He bumped between a few close maples and continued through the top stems of a salal bush. He seemed to hold no worry for such a scene, and he traveled like an explorer to new lands, his keen eyes scanning ahead with a patient ease.
After a moment, he laid his paddle across the bow of the boat and raised a delicate map before him. His bright eyes flitted across the map for a moment, and then he gave the silent forest a thoughtful gaze.
Then, with a calculated destination in mind, this lone explorer sunk his paddle once more into the impossible waters.