Forest Dance

Wandering without care through dappled sunshine
Kicking up crisp golden leaves
My eye and my feet were drawn all unbidden to a gap between the trees, an opening, a window into the unknown
And I found myself stood at a brink, a choice, a turning point
To my right the light golden airiness
To my left a plunge so steep to shade and damp and mystery
Less than a path, this descent into darkness, this one way no return slip trip away from what I had
I looked without to find the attraction, and finding none, turned and looked within
There, a dark shadow slips between one thought and the next, like a bear in a forest, the merest hint of an elusive beast, that part of me that whispers “go down”
The child of light and leaves steps back, anxious for the path, for the sunshine, for the safety
But I watch and wait and learn, for the beast is indeed a part of me, and deserves my regard
And beneath my head and my heart, lower yet in uncharted territory I hear the call of the unknown, and the deep excitement that answers it, the light within the dark
In honour of the bear I step from the path
The drop is steep, steeper than I had imagined, and slippery with leaves and mould and hidden rocks, and I slip, slip again and slide out of control, hands and feet finding no support in mud and moss until I plunge unstoppable from light into shade
And by my choice, this catastrophe becomes a gift, this reckless folly is transformed to a rush of joy so intense it summons forth my voice in ecstasy
Brushing leaves and muck from hands and knees I gaze up at the trail of my descent, marvel at the length of my slide, and laugh, and looking around me find the glade is cool and fresh and evergreen, calming and refreshing, a tranquil sanctuary protected by that slippery rampart
My gain is doubled and doubled again
The chosen slide became it’s own reward, and the choice itself gave me both this fresh new path and also many others, for all choices to all paths are now mine
And following this path I find the next choice, and the possibility of light and leaves and sunshine is restored to me, never lost at all
As I walk in beauty between ash and yew, this forest dance reveals itself as a reflection of my existence, where learning to leave a safe path has opened many wonders and possibilities. Those hidden glades of experience invite me, and I step into the dance of my life

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