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Contents Page: December 31, 2010, vol 6 no 4

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Terri French


Hiking boots and a walking stick are just the gear necessary for me to get away from myself. The soft moss, earthy mushrooms and fresh white pine, the crunch of acorn and hickory nuts underfoot, the rustle of dry autumn leaves—I find myself returning to the green center of my own organic nature.

Today, on the path, I become aware of a soft, pitiful mewing, which crescendoes into a woeful baying. The sound stops me in my tracks and pulls at my very soul. There, on the steps of the rustic cabin—part of the landscape of the trails—sits a young woman, head thrown back, mouth agape, arms tightly grasping her knees, wailing into the canopy of branches above her head.

I hesitate to intrude. Should I approach her, inquire as to her state, or respect her privacy and walk on by? Suddenly, aware of my presence, she hushes. We are like two wary animals. I decide to continue on, slowly, not wanting to interrupt or embarrass her. On some level, I understand her purge. We all find our own ways of coping with the world.

As I get some distance away, the howling begins again and for a moment I just stand still, close my eyes, and listen.

In the pulp
of the rotting log

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