The leaves have been whispering again.
They have led me to the edge
of the trees and I try to look in,
to see past the dark foliage
but I cannot.
I look at my hands,
at the scars that still remain
from the last time I was lost
within the trees.
I look back at the path I took
to get here and I can see
what looks like stars,
sparkling every few feet.
They glow in the shadows around me.
I wonder if the starts were part of me
that found their way out,
pieces of my light
that broke away from my chalice.
I lean into the leaves,
feel their coolness on my cheek
then a bright spot of fire clouds my vision.
I touch my cheek to find blood
dripping from a new wound.
The blood shines like rubies
in the half light from the moon.
The whispering around me increases,
as if the forest is laughing at my misfortune.
I remember now: the forest has a price.
It likes to take but doesn’t give,
the shadows it holds are not solace,
but a place where there are horrors hidden.
I look back at the stars that line my path
and I wonder how I got here again,
the pull that the forest has upon me.
Why do I come here when I lose my way?
I stand listening to the sounds of the forest,
the whispering of the leaves
and the cawing of the dark birds within,
when I hear something else that
is louder than the noises of the forest.
I watch as the stars start to flash in tune
to the new music that I can hear.
I begin to follow that path home,
collecting the stars as I go.
They dissolve into my hand and I feel brighter.
The shadows from the forest begin to fade
and I realize where that music is coming from:
it is coming from within.
The stars are the notes of the song
and they are leading me back to myself.
As I gather the stars,
I walk further and further away
from the forest.
When it calls again,
as I know it will,
I will think of the stars and
the song that they sing.
I will be ready.