She smiled then winked at me and disappeared into a tangle of trees through which nothing was visible. It was bad enough trying not to fall over all the roots on the forest floor, but trying to keep up with her was another thing entirely. She was nimble and used to this place. This had always been her home. She rejoiced in the rain that revived her plant friends when the scorching weather had weakened them to almost nothingness, and she grieved in the loss of the ant colony whose log had collapsed into itself, destroying all the little tunnels and secret rooms within.
Finally catching sight of her, kneeling to watch a burying beetle cover a carcass of some recently deceased animal, I was able to get a better look at my surroundings. Sunlight streamed through the canopy in small patches, but most of the forest was kept out of the direct rays. This was thanks to the skyscraper-like trees that caught much of the sun a couple hundred feet above. I also noted a feeling of harmony in this place. Everything here felt so natural and so connected. I felt as if one single songbird could sing the joys of every plant and animal here. I could ask the trees how the jaguar was feeling today, and they would know. The rabbit in the burrow to the east would know of the badger’s sick young to the south. Everything here lived in the same rhythm.
“Can you hear it? This is the song of the earth. My home rejoices for I have returned, but much is not the same as it was. Still, the woods sing. The crickets conduct as the wind whispers in the treetops. The birds sing out their solos perfectly. Oh, how I have longed to talk to my friends here, to see how they fare in this failing world. Everyone out there in civilization says they are the ones progressing.. How can they not see what true progression is? Here we do not need to plant crops, for the forest holds plenty of edible flora. We have no need for raising domesticated animals in order to satiate our hunger, for the fauna too is plentiful. What good is economic gain here? One needs not money to survive. One needs peace, happiness, and a curiosity for everything within reach. Look! Here is a Blue Morpho butterfly! See the beautiful blue hues? Don’t they capture your attention?”
It was then that I saw her true beauty. This girl was one with the earth. Her passion shone through her like a flashlight shines through a dark tunnel. It illuminated everything around, encompassing the whole world in a glow. Her eyes sparkled like freshly polished diamonds, throwing little spotlights on whatever it was that held her attention in each moment.
The butterfly she spotted was not just a butterfly to her, it was a Blue Morpho butterfly. It traveled far and wide to find this spot. It was laid as an egg on the underside of a delectable leaf. It hatched and grew, consuming not only the egg sac it had been contained in, but also a few leaves of the lucky plant it had been placed on. After it ate it’s fill, enough to last for weeks in a cocoon, it found a hiding place to wrap itself up in and sleep. Although, sleeping may not be what it did exactly. While in the cocoon, it grew more, not any wider than it already was, but it grew wings of extraordinary color. It grew so that it could be prepared for it’s next stage of life. Flight. It emerged from the cocoon and waited for its wings to unfurl. Only then could it be in the state she found it in today.
That was how she saw everything. Nothing to her was as it physically presented itself. Everything was seen as a journey. She looked at a new leaf on her favorite tree and thought of the nutrient rich soil. She thought of the thunderous storms that brought the much needed rain. She thought of the sunlight, how it must have found another blade on this tree already to have created a new leaflet. She thought of the birds whose nests sat high overhead and of the worms who scoured the soil beneath, searching for waste to break down. All this came to her mind simply because of a single leaf.
“You know, this world has a lot to teach you ‘civilized’ folk. Have you seen the silent forests? Do you know why they no longer have voices?”
At her questions, I was stumped. I know of the places she was describing, however I don’t know why they are the way they are. I mean, humankind depends on the resources from those forests. I see nothing wrong with they way they are now.
“What do you mean by, “They no longer have voices”? The earth doesn’t speak, animals make noises, but they don’t talk to us. Sure, there are some debatable occurrences where animals have been able to ‘communicate’ with us, but I don’t believe that is what you are referring to.”
“Of course they speak! Everything on earth has its part in life’s orchestra, just as we do. Just because no other beings speak the human language doesn’t mean that they don’t have a voice! How can you be so blind? Listen to them!”
He could tell he had angered her, and that was far from his intention, but he still just didn’t understand this whole “rhythm of life” thing. He was beginning to be frustrated with her for getting so worked up over everything.
“I am listening, but I don’t hear anything!”
He kept his tone even, though his frustration did show, and she was very perceptive. A piercing glare passed his way feeling like a knife in the stomach, and then, a second later, she masked her emotions and continued talking calmly, almost too calmly. It was eerie the way she could so abruptly change her responses. She was obviously very practiced in hiding how she really felt.
“Those that listen, hear all. If you hear nothing, you are either in a disturbed piece of the world, or not bothering to listen..”
With that she turned and began walking away from him, deeper into “her” forest. Her footsteps were so light that it was almost impossible to believe she was actually there and not some figment of imagination. She made her way to the biggest tree in the area, and stopped to gaze up at it. From this view, Tristan could see a single tear as it fell from her beautiful eye and went running down her face. Its trail was illuminated by the patch of sunlight she had found near the tree. He could see once again how strongly she felt for the earth, and he felt awful for not seeing the same beauty in it. Her devotion to helping and saving all living creatures was astounding to him.