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An evening on the Trail 

I began to succumb to my drifting eyes.

I focused them on the tree bark. Watching the line of small dots run up it. And then there was another lane, one headed down. Where could they be going?

Have you ever focused on something and you feel right? Your  mind becomes quiet, relaxed, and your eyes fixed on a single thing?

It’s like a call that gets to you, and all you can do is let it guide you.

There was a worker rushing down, it was carrying a piece of leaf, or at least that’s what it looked like, and it was rushing down the tree. The dot with the green.

All the other small residents continued on their unbreakable chain, up and down, fixed in a single file line. But the one with the leaf rushed, and it got down to the ground. Stumbling and sometimes even dropping his cargo. But nevertheless it was motivated.

“Where are you going?”

I whispered.

Without them, the vast majority of the land wouldn’t be as it is. It is these workers that cultivate the ground beneath, building cities and architect their way within the veins of the earth. Shaping below to raise the world above them.

How can they be so strong? How can they be so small yet so important to a world that can barely notice them?

The sun was past one, and so I decided to get up and scout the area further away from the path. I gathered my slingshot, put it around my neck, and a few well rounded rocks I found on the path up. In hand I also had a machete, an all purpose tool for those on the island.

Not only was it used cut fruits, but it was one to cut down grasses, like sugar cane, weeds, and mangroves. It was also a tool to cut open anything to eat, to prepare meat, and to prepare fish. It served as protection too. A good one may cost a week’s worth of work, but to a grown person, woman or man, this was essential for life.

Fox and Harry walked with me, quiet and focused as always. Sniffing the air and ground around them as they walked. I felt safe with them.

Blade in hand, I approached a small tree, it was knocked down and it’s roots were above the ground. It had been there for a while, as it’s bark  was covered in a small layer of moss. A bright delight and soft to the touch.

Slowly I began to gather pieces of wood from the fallen tree. Branches and medium sized logs. Using my hands and arms to break the easier to get twigs and branches, and my machete to cut the thicker pieces.

I spent my time going back and forth from the fallen tree to the campsite, gathering enough wood to last the entire night.

As I chopped, I noticed an opening in the canopy, allowing me to see further up the mountain, and so I saw smoke, coming from the top of the mountain.

“What could it be? ,” I said to Fox and Harry as they calmly watched me work.

Not before long, I scouted further for fruits. After walking into the brush, I found a papaya tree, and with my blade I cut a tool from a nearby tree.

It was simple, from a thick enough branch, you create a “y” shaped fork, of course you made it as long as needed. To get the fruit from trees all was needed was to trap the stem from which the fruit attached to the tree in between the “y”, and you twist, and the fruit alone fell. But this only meant that you needed to quickly let go of the long fork and catch the fruit.

I got two papayas like this, it is custom to only take from the land what you need.

There was a river that ran all along the mountain, and it ran right beside the town. Although up here, untouched by the people, is where the beauty resides.

It didn’t reach this campsite, and if I wanted to reach it meant I needed to make an hour walk, so for this day I needed to use the water I brought, and it wasn’t much. In the morning we’d collect the water.

It was getting dark, and so we headed back to the campsite, I started to make the fire.

I burned branches as dry as I could find. It can get quite cool here at night with the breeze from the ocean even though we are halfway up the mountain.

The fire didn’t consist of much. Tinder from the old fallen tree I gathered did the job, and I made sure to keep the fire roaring throughout the night to avoid any dampness to overcome me as I slept.

I ate papaya, Fox and Harry ate with me. It was quiet, and the sounds of the jungle became even more awe inspiring than in the day. The crickets chirping, the trees moving from the wind and all the animals that came out to feed. It was liberating.

Even though the dampness and cool air were whistling through the woods and trees like some kind of giant wooded instrument, we stayed warm and calm with the feeling of safety a fire can produce.

Not only that, but Fox and Harry provided perfect warmth. In our old rags and blankets we called our camping gear, we slept together, and they loved to snuggle. We were inseparable.

The day came to a close, but the activities of the forests were beginning, and we heard them all around us.

The site we settled in was a flat clearing. The ground in which we sat and slept was pressed dirt. Even though the clearing was wide, the canopy above came to a close and we could not see the night sky. That helped to keep the heat from the fire inside the dome of leaves.

The wind blew from the sea, and it moved the trees, making the leaves and trunks rustle and creak throughout the night. 

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Adventure, All Stories, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Young Adult (YA)