THROUGH THE FOREST WILDERNESS

  “A place where the meanings of life’s deepest mysteries come alive nonetheless; ‘The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.’”

Here we go.

He walked around the dense vegetation cover, the thick undergrowth and onwards with the winding trail that disappeared far in the distance around some giant, aged spruce. There were pine-cones scattered all around him that had apparently fallen off their parent trees after reaching maturity. Some had bloomed completely, while others only partially. Strings of dead foliage turned brown over time were strewn all over the landscape. The atmosphere of the woods was thick with the cold that the winds up north brought in with them to the trees and getting it effectively trapped up between them. The wilderness was somehow rendered magical with the presence of the ever-peaceful silence down here, where no being of the outside could enter this dimension that bubbled to life with its other-worldly presence. It was always constantly changing, yet never truly moving from their spiritual place within. It was timeless.                                     Brushing aside overhanging branches of moss-covered trees above and ferns at his feet below, he breathed in the deeply rich, earthy scent of the gigantic forest in all its glory.

The forests held an inexplicable aura to them where they emanated a sense of danger and security, both at the same time. The rich timber of the insects resonated within the spirits of the sleeping trees and created a rhythmic sound with the beat of a flowing stream somewhere in the distance. But as to where…he could not quite place it. Sensing that it would gradually fade into nightfall, he saw the last of the sunlight converge at the horizon – with the dark hot on its tail in pursuit – and in a brisk lunge, the entire landscape had abruptly plunged into blackness. The sudden change in his surroundings left his eyes disoriented, and he groped around hopelessly in the dark abyss before him in order not to have his foot caught in the roots of the trees draped all around him and trip to his demise on one of the sharp-edged rocks.

Yes, the path I tread is long and rough but the journey that lies ahead has waited far too long.

As his vision finally adjusted to the absence of light, he was barely able to make out faint shadows jutting out of the ground all around him: effectively cornering him into a helpless maze of towering, green beings of varying hues right in the middle what was just the beginning of one of the coldest places on earth known to man. With the same thought in mind over and over again, he pushed himself forward on his feet across the frozen, rock-laden earth beneath him. The young cavalier’s journey to the North had never been an easy decision but once he had made up his mind, he immediately wanted to follow through with it wholeheartedly. He had lost count of how many days it had been; his sole sense of time came from watching the sun rise every morning behind the trees and then getting swallowed up again by the mountains as nighttime came around.   But the only glimmer of hope that kept him going still was a sense of belonging to this part of the world and his faithful, old companion always by his side…

The knight was so deeply immersed in his contemplating of what lay ahead that he had all but forgotten the presence of his said companion silently treading behind him at a short distance. The stout, young creature looked wary of his immediate surroundings as if unsure of what might spring out of the shadows of the murky forest. The mahogany coat of the horse was all but drowned out in the sea of black, only the light, rhythmic clacking of his hooves against the stone pathway was the indicator of any life around him. He approached his horse slowly and caressed the side of his face both sympathetically and lovingly.

“I know you are weary, lad,” whispered he to his companion“The way is long, but we must make this journey…for the fruit will be as delightful as any.

The cloak-clad man had said these words as much a reminder of their faith to his horse as much as to his nostalgic self. He was not a man of doubts, nor was he one to be deterred, but with the hours of insatiate hunger and the lack of a sense of conformity of the future he could not help but question his faith the longer it took him to get off of this path.

Your fears are irrational… a voice in his mind reminded him quietly. You chose your path and decide to follow it. Your will is only being tested, which will keep your faith living.

The mysterious man had heard a lot of voices whispering to him in the back of his head but one had, almost every time, outweighed all…His inner voice. The one that always managed to remain calm as and whenever the circumstances demanded it. Holding onto that lone but strong voice inside of him, he halted in his tracks and looked to the skies.  There was something about the nighttime sky that had always fascinated him ever since he was a child, but what he saw then directly above his head was something that had completely knocked the ground off from beneath his feet. An entire blanket of midnight blue sky had gathered all the stars there were in the universe was what it seemed like. The twinkling stars held onto it as if they were diamonds embroidered into a piece of endless, velvety fabric that held the knight captive like a curious, little child listening in on bedtime stories from his mother in a surprisingly attentive and utterly caught in a trance state of mind. There were bands and strings of astonishing, bright colors ranging from a bright lime to deep sea-green hues similar to light strokes of fluorescent paint that had been carelessly splashed as a beautiful tapestry all over the fabric. .

Aurora Borealis? He wondered dumbfounded. This is a sign. It means I am close…

The old preacher had told him all about the colorful bands of lights seen in the sky near the North Pole and how they were as much landmark to the lost struggling to head in the right direction as much as was the Pole Star that hung over the north pole like a beacon of hope in dark times. But what he had not told him was of the striking beauty it held to the weary traveler and the hope it revived within them to continue their journey. It was a sight so soothing and calming to his nerves after hours of emotional turmoil inside him that he felt his spirits lifting again, to a place so high above the mountain peaks adorned with frosty, white snow and gradually soaring even higher to the endless fabric overhead and touching the stars embedded in it with their longing fingertips. Never in his entire life had he – the brave young man ready to take on the world to find his way through its truer meaning– experienced something as simple as a glimpse towards the heavens to be such a strong catalyst in relieving his frayed nerves and bringing about the broken pieces of his lost and helpless self that was worn to his bones. The path that had brought him to this suddenly felt a lot less hopeless and the aged forest through which it wove its way out here like the human spine connecting to the mind seemed a lot more beautiful under the starlight that shone down on them from the heavens above. And in those moments of his journey, the cavalier remembered once again, the words that had led him through with his choice this far…that had led him up to this point:

At night the forests,
they emanate an eerie glow their spirits radiate deep within them
like a thousand tiny embers crowded together
Flickered by the wind that stoops low.
And from within the cool shades of these bent trees,
comes an aura of inexplicable security
That cannot be put into words or has ever been
For the weary refugee of the night that seeks comfort
…And thoughts that hoard anything but purity.
Where the meaning of life’s deepest mysteries comes alive nonetheless;
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

That is when, in repeating those words in his head over and over, had he realized their true meaning.   For never before in his entire life had he felt so connected to the wilderness…and in turn, to the Universe.  They both seemed to be fused together as a whole rather than two different entities in that moment of time.He felt reborn; he felt complete. He could feel no doubt of his oneness with the Universe and he sensed the feeling coursing deep through his veins. He felt the newly found energy resonate within the deepest marrow of his bones. For the briefest fraction of a second, he could feel the universe all move together in sync and the order that radiated in the depths of his soul… …He had found his muse.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

And the timeless wilderness had once again led a man to a home deep inside his core, to the universe…within his subconscious self.

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