Your face is a forest.
There is scruff, yes–bristle like brush, like undergrowth. Hair lined your jaw, like moss on stone or fallen trunk. Thin here, thicker there–a patch missing where stag’s antlers sharpened, his scratchings like mine, head grinding against something solid, something yielding just enough against our trying, curious force.
Above, a sense of towering, of shadow which is shade, of branches across which thoughts like animals skittered, jumped and played before hiding again. I watched them dance, then scatter. I followed what I could–they were there, I saw them. Suddenly hidden again, and elsewhere another thought tumbled through bower of needled branch and leaf, and I am distracted still.
Brows overhang pools reflecting the light of grey days, autumnal brooding or spring’s pregnant clouds swimming in indifferent certainty through a sky glimpsed through gaps of pine. Past their clouded mirror I could not delve, only listen, watch, drinking carefully at their edges, lapping life fed from unseen fonts deeper than my boots or hoofs could tread.
I remember: the wind rose up, shaking your forest with laughter, the soft roar of leaf’s response. I remember: the wind quieted, and I with it, lingering to hear what silence speaks when the world grows still. Gusts which had drawn laughter from leaf and groan from wood had rippled the light and clarity of reflection in those pools; I looked again. I remember: the image had changed. I stared again, but the silvered-blue dance of life was different, new, another reflection, a new recognition, a new remembering.
I have known forests. I have played to the god of Alder, I’ve greeted dryads dancing in tassels of Willow. I’ve lain against Pine, scratched the back of my head against its bark, smelling for days of its sap. At the base of Cedar I collected crimson tears and burned them to meet another. Before a great Spruce fell into a vast ravine, I shared its dreams. I’ve passed greetings between Maples, I’ve seen the stars appear to dance on silver-skin of Birch.
But in this forest, I am lost. I do not remember: am I hunter or stag? Was I exploring or explored? I had been one, and then the other, and I am only now remembering what a forest means, what a forest is,
and I am only now remembering I do not know at all.
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