The pines stand in pockets, soft, fur-lined, so deep you can scrunch your cold hands down into them, warm them up. You can scrunch the rest of you down in, too: nestle in, maybe never emerge.
Here you pause, gather your peace, collect your bearings. The pines will guard your secrets in their silence, a cathedral of sorts, where you've come to whisper a prayer now that time has momentarily stopped ticking. You weave noiselessly, a carpet of tawny needles, along trails the dimensions of deer. Coyote doots thick with fur, whispers of a world that woke while you were sleeping. That world where the crunch of beech leaves would betray you, disappeared the moment you slipped inside. Thin columns of light penetrate the evergreen canopy, illuminate you alone, in this world under blankets, this moment of silent prayer for the timeless present. -- Bald Mountain, North Carolina, Feb 2023
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