After a while I arrive at a clearing and stop to gaze around at the night forest, catch my breath. No light from the moon penetrates the canopy of trees here, and I am swathed in a thick, throbbing darkness which fills me with a breathless exhilaration, but also fear. As my eyes adjust, shapes slowly materialize out of the blackness. Silhouettes of conifers tower around me, silent giants, guardians of nature. The quiet is so immense that I can hear my heartbeat, the far away rhythm of a drum, and my breath rises and falls with the rushing sound of water, flowing and receding. Suddenly something scurries across the ground, and I squeal in fright, my heart pounding, my body tingling with heightened awareness. Then I laugh softly. It is but a small animal, perhaps a mouse. The forest speaks to me, swelling and pulsing with life, and I throw my head back, close my eyes, and surrender to it, merge with it. And feel more alive than I ever have.
All of a sudden an icy breeze touches my cheeks.