Riding with the Hunt
The leaves above me rustle and whisper, glints of golden sunlight filtering through an opulent canopy of orange and gold. Now and then, a creature scurries by in the undergrowth and fallen leaves. Though the sun is setting quickly, there is a certain sense of peace in the quiet of the woods. The winding ravine paths lead me to the edge of a jagged cliff, looking down into the tumbling depths where a river once flowed. A gust of wind catches my jacket and scarf, laughing, almost threatening to send me over the edge on which I stand. That’s when I catch it: the subtle drone on the breeze, as if a horn was being blown off in some distant part of the wood.
Stillness follows. Branches creak, almost from the burden of motionlessness- as if the very act of remaining still for too long will cause their limbs to weaken and break. Acorns fall with quiet thuds as the muteness creeps in. A lone whisper of a breeze blows past my ear: “You are one of us… Come and ride amongst our ranks…” With a smile, I nod, closing my eyes and allowing myself to be carried away.
In the arms of hunters, I soar over the crimson wood. Further up, I can see the Grand River as it cuts through the forested landscape, carving its way towards the city and beyond. My stomach turns in the way it might on a rollercoaster. We tumble through autumn breeze and storm cloud, laughing in the madness of it all. First a burst of icy fog, then a swirl of leaves caught from a tree nearby, leaping into darkened damp masses of cloud that rumble at our touch. Then, as suddenly as it began, I am plunging downward again, careening towards the forest and the ravines from which I had risen. We fall down, down through branches both barren and gilded, down past barky trunk and forest creature and into the depths of soily crag and dampened slope.
My consciousness returns to my physical form with a gasp. Eyes wide, I see that darkness has fallen around me. The ghostly whispering breeze blows gently past. In its wake, leaves scuttle ‘round my feet, muttering a raspy farewell. For now, I must leave the realm of root and rot, of moss and bark, for the land of brick and steel. I know, however, that this place will be awaiting my return…
By Brenna Adaira