Chapter One- A Piece of Silence - by Maddie McBride
My mind awoke from the dizzy swirls of dreams, leaving my body to regain itself, as it slowly twisted from the imaginary grasp. My body lagged behind, however. It stayed passively unmoving, relishing in free-thought, irresponsibility and the caress of dream-stuff. My mind had plans of its own; it needed to tend to its charge, to heal the infirmed and cure the ailed. My mind wanted to task itself with endless objectives, menacing challenges, foreboding duties.
I sat quaintly in the middle of this stalemate. There was no conflict, mind you, except that the two disagreed with what was to be done at the present time. There was harmony in this but it was not certain that it would last. It was temporary, like that of a bear; it eats the honey for instant gratification and might come back if it is stung too horribly by the bees. I stepped from this void as emerged to the surface as a whole, eclipsing both the mind and body, making them one, for the moment.
As I finally opened my eyes, the world was draped in a watery veil, liquidating all the colors together, and setting no boundaries among the bound and rooted. I lifted my limbs to wipe away the shield from my eyes. I now set my sights upon a scenic view; all the colors layered one on top of the other, side by side, each on adding to the other. The shades ranged from the cold mist that matted the hairs to my flesh to the warm leaf litter that hid the scurrying insects as they help to decompose the floor I trod on. Trees and branches embraced, forever intertwined in intricate spider-webbings. No animal had yet stirred. It was the creeping hours before dawn and after night’s star-blanketed heart; the moon set with dignity behind the proud mountain range that threatened to overshadow it. The cool of its radiance penetrated the leaves that swayed ever gently in the dawning breeze such that, the leaves left their translucent markings on the forest bottom.
My eyes moved unblinking across the tree trunks and bramble. Various thickets shielded the ground from the leaves as they came fiddling down through the breath of air. Various mammals made their humble abode here. As I peered round, I could see the pheasant, which had gotten here a week before, was joined with a mate, and was sitting on a pile of badly furnished twigs. There was a rabbit hole under a thicket, far from the pheasant and the male. There was a fair amount of kits that had once lived it that home. They had come from the meadow, a long ways off, kept there in the tyranny of a vicious Vulture who had once preyed on them. I had leaded them away and banished the Vulture from my woods. Now, their numbers had replenished and they lived fairly well, with little disease and famine. My home was near the ground yet above it. It was in a mixture of boulders that had conveniently fallen years ago and had been weathered down over the centuries into a small cave. I made my home here, and I loved it. It was full of herbal smells and the pungent stench of dry earth.
The arousal from my cubbyhole was quiet, placing my feel as carefully as I could while keeping a forward momentum. Moving in the quiet of the coming dawn, it is wonderful to be alone. You have no one to worry about you, no one to worry seeing you. It is just you, and the coming light. I felt my mouth dry as I walked on. I paused in mid-step and altered direction toward the stream. It was chilly, with goose bumps all around my arms and legs. My hair is what kept me warm. Although it hung horribly in my face, it shielded me from the icy breathe. The moon had already wined down for the night. And I could feel the forest start to breathe. I looked at the sky and begged time to pause. Give me a moment more! I just need another moment to stay alone! There was no response from the sky. It never answered my pleas.
Just before I had reached the stream, I felt the ground moisten under my toes. I saw the water tripping over itself and splashing against itself in midair. It was impossible to imagine what the ocean looked like if only this stream flowed from this mountain. But I have seen the ocean, I puzzled, and it IS very small. No, I think it’s a Lake. I bent my face down toward the water and dipped my hands into its cold, crisp edges. It moved past me, always moving, pulling the dirt away from my hands. I pulled some of the water to my face and arms, dampening my skin and drinking its essence. I looked at my face in the water and frowned. My face was that of a human being. Now although I do believe that humans have their own right and place in society, it is almost contradictory for a human to protect a forest, when most of the fires every created were started by humans.
My stomach jerked and twisted at my figure. Repulsive, thought I, and I changed my shape to that of a fish and dove in the water. I morphed completely into an aquatic beast. It is very strange to be a fish when you spend all your time as another creature. Neither of my eyes looked forward so I had to constantly wave about, with their always being a moment of blindness to my front. I also had no feet. You could say that swimming is the equivalent of flying to a fish. It swam with the current dodging left and right. I kept on dodging obstacles for a long time; I followed the current as almost that every other creature got sucked into. Seeing little point in follow the masses, I spat myself from the water and assumed the form of a peregrine falcon.
My mind went from prey to predator. Yet again, I had another blind spot in my front vision. I did not mind for the most part. I had other forms I could easily partake. I spread my wings far and wind and ran in a circle, getting the feel of the body. The Falcon felt like a human, except more free. I could feel the bird’s empty belly start to nibble at its container.
Maybe a morsel of food?
I let the human slide behind the knowledge of a young falcon. The persona of the Falcon slid forward and took over the body. It is like replacing who you were, or acting. The falcon spread its tail feathers and left the whispers of wind catch its wings. It darted forward and clashed against the sleeping trees, going high into the open air. It moved its head is a graceful sweeping motion, looking for anything that dare stir at the hour. As the light of dawn breached over the bright mountain peaks, peregrine falcon took notice of a creature, several miles away, nearest to the lake. It was a rabbit, not the one from the thicket. My eyes locked onto the blurry animal as the falcon began to close it. It dived such that its wings brushed the canopy. It was a bit of a gamble. By staying so close to the trees, I could no longer see my meal. However, this also meant the rabbit would have a hard time detecting my presence.
I swept over the sides of the trees till I came drifting from the clusters of woodland and on top of the lake. The area dipped down into a sharp ledge of rocks and weeds. This slope headed into a miniscule shoreline that het the waves lap onto its sands. The lake was huge, the side of a small mountain. It was in a depression that had once been full of water, but it was far from empty. It was only full in spring, when the peaks of the mountains melted and swamped my woods by the roaring, gushing streams. There fastened to the lake’s bottom, a small island in the middle that stood out from the surface. It had a rocky shoreline with soft earth in the middle. It lay so far in the middle; if there was a catastrophe, many of the animals would seek shelter.
Regaining myself, I circled the lake in search of the rabbit. All around the lakes’ lining, I saw no mammals, no birds, not even an amphibian. The forest held its breath. Something had entered into my forest.
Skreeee! I called in anger. I strengthened my down stroke and rose higher into the thermals. My feather pushed about in the wind as I flew all over my charge. All around my forest I circled, until I heard something.
“Der moight bay da der er spir’uts lurkin’ ‘bout dis er ‘Orest,” the voice was gruff and low, but easy enough to detect. I closed my eyes and let myself glide. Through every leaf that hung on the trees I watched the trespassers. It was a man and a woman. The man was speaking in a dialect off the far reaches of my woodlands, somewhere beyond even my first forest. The woman moved her feet gracefully over my forest, understanding her place in nature. The man however, trudged through on his merry-way and cared not for the dying under his feet, or the taint he spread as he swept his ungainly feet across the leaf litter.
When the humans had left, chased away from the comforts of their human minds by something of feather and fury, I returned to the outskirts and watch the cities of humans grow. For now, I could relish if the small piece of silence.
Medical Practice Manager
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