Forest Breath

Soggy leaves in autumn colors cushioned each step along the wide trail. Hard lines from their shadows contrasted the muddled amber, red, and browns like cracked paint in an aging masterpiece. Along the edges, bright green ferns crowned the subtle ridges of dirt that marked the trail’s borders, extending their march beyond the untamed forest floor. Among the ferns, mossy sentinels arose, with thick, gnarled bark covering the wide tree trunks. The bark, the leaves, the moss, and every breath was crisp and saturated with the moist mountain air. Beams of sunlight pierced through the air where the canopy’s maze permitted their gray-gold fingers to navigate into the scene. Each beam hung in the translucent morning quiet, illuminating the trail with casual reflections from the dew-laden forest. Distant sounds of birds and branches snapped and chirped amidst a feeling of falling water that infused each sound, alive and breathing from the mountain’s morning movements.

Above the beams of light, a collage of greens dominated the scene, with leafy tokens gently falling with their final show. Unbound by the season, the evergreen colors changed only with their passing from life to death. First suspended in vibrant life, then dancing down by an unfelt breeze to decay in the gentle calm below. Along the trail, former sentinels lay askew with wooden arms twisting up from their grand rest. Their dark skeletons succumb much slower to the steady pull of time. For now, their outstretched limbs direct the steady march of beetles, moss, and spiders’ webs into their perches. The scene heaved once more as cooler air from an unseen lake passed down the trail, searching amidst the undergrowth like a traveler seeking long-lost kin. Until, stopping deep within the woods, the waterfall’s roars and growls drew in the breath and released it back into the muted verdant mist.

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