Forest Grove

January, 2010
(a post on Google Wave)
Jeremy Karnowski

I contorted my arm and ripped it from the brambles, giving myself only a brief moment to pick a few thorns out before I crashed about once more. A few kilometers back, I jumped into the thick of the forest and began speeding towards an unknown destination; I ran amidst the dry brush knowing only the bearing of my strides.

Light between the trees stayed my pace, and slowing down, I allowed myself the luxury of picking at my sleeve. I smoothed out the fabric, patted down my collar, hoisted my bag further up my shoulder, and stepped into the sunny grove.

I was halfway across the meadow before she looked up from her map. I haltered a step, nodded my presence, and continued walking towards the log she was sitting on.

“I didn’t expect to see you here,” I said with still labored breathing.

“Tired?” she asked.

“I had a run-in with some vines back there,” I motioned towards where I recently appeared, “but I’m alright now.” I looked down and brushed my sleeve again, pleased it was still clean. I took a deep breath.

When I lifted my head to meet her gaze again, her eyes belied her calm exposure. They were pleading for more conversation.

I broke the tension. “How have you been since I left you? That was, what, three and a half, four days ago?”

“Yeah, something like that. It’s been good.” She held her voice a bit, but then hurriedly rushed forth with more. “It’s been so incredible! I love the trails in this place. You just can’t imagine… Wait, maybe you can. Have you been to the western part of the park yet? Incredible!”

I smiled, and in turn, she beamed back at me.

“I’ve seen a little bit. I took some time exploring the outer sections. Well worth it, if you have a few days.”

“If you’re not heading anywhere at the moment, I’d love to hear all about it,” she said as she put her hand on mine.

Looking again into her eyes, I offered up a different suggestion. “How about we take a walk together, and we can talk on the way?” I guided her with my eyes towards the path leading further into the park. “I’ve never been up that way before. I’ve always wanted to. How about you? Got a few hours?”

She looked down at her map, and then chuckled.

“What?” I asked, wondering if something was wrong.

“That’s actually where I was headed next. Let’s go.”