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One step at a time. Moving, slowly, a breath caught as I take in the surroundings.

Woods. Small and young, brown with the fall and caught in tangles of vines and leaves. Smell has never starred in my contemplations. Sight, with a feel for what surrounds me shapes my thoughts, as my mind shapes that around me. There must be animal sounds, but I hear nothing. Nothing until I see the little deer, its breath too quiet, but its fear singing in the stillness.

Winter, grief stuck in my throat, buried under my thick layers as I move, just to keep from realizing the truth. I’d have run if I could. Simple feelings, strong as always, keep my mind racing, the walk taking some part of the frenzy, even as the rest courses through me. How can I be so cold, and the feelings so warm?

Rain. As I sit on the bench, thunder rolls all around, above my head some slight protection, which I soon abandon in favor of the downpour. Silence on my part, as my mind is overwhelmed with the constant sound of water hitting earth and tree. With the wind rushing about and the warmth of the summer day wrapping around my damp figure. Wash away, away away. Til I’m left with only a slab of wood, shining darkly with new touch. Ready to face the day.

The sun rises above the valley, as we crest the smaller hill, mounted on the side of this small mountain. The strength used to get this far, depleted, as we stare in silence. I feel a wave of heat, remnants of the summer, rare on these cold mornings. Spice cider and the rush of wind, driving through the curves of the mountain, back to life and all its realities.

Soft touch, rough mane. A snort and flick of the ears reminds me that I’ve work to do. Slowly I brush the loose hairs away, patting her warm neck in reassurance that I won’t take much longer. A memory, and I stop. I lean forward, my cheek pressed to her side, as I take in the smell of horse all around. I hug her neck, my arms stretching, her body too big to enfold. Warmth, comfort as I am reminded of the beauty of this animal. A nudge to my shoulder and I get back to work. But first, I stroke her nose, a scratch behind her ear. Moments I’ll always hold dear..

Never more then when I am alone, yet never alone for the world around, does nature pervade my very essence in this way. I’ve no desire to learn the names, the shapes, nor the traits. My senses suffice, my experience exhilarating as I whistle softly to the fox and he turns and stops to stare. Those moments in their singularity, find my hurt and heal it. My walks bleed out the poison, the elements drive out the pain. The softness of the creatures bind and stitch me back again. The strong, hard oaks and sycamores willing health into my lungs, as I capture a hint of their scents, to be forgotten shortly aft.

I could not imagine life without my legs, to wander through fields, forest, and hills. I could not imagine life without my ears, to hear soft music on the breeze. I could not imagine life without my eyes, to capture the valleys far down below. I could not imagine life without words, spoken or written, unsaid and unwanted, to teach and to tell me which ways life should go. Yet one or all I could lose at one time…

I heard at some time, that life could go on living, for I’d four limbs and I’d five senses. Remind me of this when one day, I grieve for a friend who showed me life in one way.

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