Alone in the Forest
India. Age 10. Victoria, British Columbia

The ground is smooth under your feet. Unable to see the sky, you look up only seeing the trees.

You can smell fresh pine in the air, knowing that you are in a place completely made of nature. A butterfly lands on a tree branch, its wings spread out in the open and fluttering, after flying up in the blue sky, feeling the wind on its body. Your feet make a trail in the soft mud, as you walk further into the green forest, farther away from human life forms, but deeper into your mind, your thoughts. Happy to be away from all the noises, the people, the car horns, happy to just be able to hear your breath, and hear your feet crunch into the ground, and not have to worry about anybody else but yourself.

I believe it's good to be alone for a while, especially somewhere you can think, like the huge and beautiful forest. I can hear the birds chirping above me, singing like they don't even notice I'm below them, like they feel that they can sing as loud as they want, as though their surrounding don't matter to them. If it is cold, they will sing; if it is hot, they will sing; they do what they love every day because it matters deeply to them. When I am feeling down, all I have to do is listen. Sometimes when you just listen, it is like they are saying something to you, trying to tell you it will be ok. I whistle a melody to them, and when they start to whistle again, itís like they are answering you, replying to you. They listen, so you should too. I walk along the path, oblivious, only thinking about the wind hitting my skin. There are goosebumps, but I don't care.

I feel so alive right there, breathing in these big strong breaths. I stop because I see a snail trying to push its way across the path. Laughing, I pick it up and place it on a bush. I find a small mountain to sit down on, I stare at the shimmering water, knowing that I am good, and I don't need anything else. All is well.

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