The Forest Spirit

The wind rustled through the trees, seeming to call out my name. I closed my eyes and listened. I heard the birds chirp, the crickets sing their song, the buzzing of the flying bugs hovering around. The pine needles gave off their Christmas-y scent, mixed with the blooming dandelions, wild flowers, and the earthy smell that lingers in the forest. I smiled as I opened my eyes and looked around. The decaying leaves on the forest ground, covering up the dirt path that was overgrown from not being used.

 The deep green colour of plants that had just gotten their fill of water, the dew still hanging off the tips of the grass. The tree tops creaked as the wind blew through, still sounding like my name was whispered among the trees. I took a few steps on the unused path, wondering where it led to. A little way down the path, it opened into a clearing. A ring of white topped mushrooms was to my left. There was a fallen tree decaying on my right. Moss and mushrooms grew from the bark of the felled tree. I heard the wind rustle again, and my names still sounded among the trees. The birds continued to twitter their merry melodies, calling to one another and finding their partners. I smiled again and walked towards the mushrooms. The white topped mushrooms formed an almost perfect circle. “A Fairy Circle,” I whispered, as I heard a little giggle. I spun in place, and looked for this unfamiliar laughter, and found nothing. I sighed and continued to look around and walked on the outside of the circle. 

I thought I saw a blur of something in the corner of my eye and turned to look. Something darted between the trees. I stood, frozen, staring. Did I really see that? The wind whispered my name again, although this time, it was clearly my name. The hair on the back of my neck stood up, and goosebumps rose all over my skin. I was a little nervous, but curious. What could have sparked this feeling?- I thought to myself. The Fairy Circle, and I looked at it again. Some glimmering light caught my eye, and I crouched down to get a closer look. A lightning bug flew up in front of my face, lit up twice, and flew upwards into the trees. Again, a blur in the corner of my eye- jumping between the trees. It was a blur of dark green, but looked like the form of a small human, child size. I took a step towards the last blur. A high-pitched giggle rang out, and the wind called my name again. I took another step, and another. Close to the tree where I last saw the blur, I held my breath and peeked my head around the tree. And… emptiness. The air seemed to shimmer as I let out my held breath. I snickered at my mind, playing tricks on me. I took a step around that tree and looked around. The Fairy Circle behind me, the wildflowers swaying to an unfelt breeze. The birds twittering away, crickets and grasshoppers singing their songs, the buzzing from the bugs. A frog croaked. A Frog? I thought, as I walked towards the sound. The forest floor was filled with many animals, but frogs were almost always near water. As I listened and followed the sound of the frog, I heard the wind whisper my name again. I heard the water, a little gurgling brook. Some mossy rocks were sitting in this little brook, the frog perched on one, looking at me, and the frog croaked again. He heard me walking and hopped into the water with a small little splash. I took a glance at the brook. The water flowed slowly, but steadily. It came from my right, winding around the trees, and then, on my left, it took a sharp turn, out of sight. I stood staring, knowing now that I’d strayed far off of my forest path. The blur appeared to the left. I saw the dark green hop between the two trees. This time I didn’t hesitate, and I ran towards it. I heard the giggle and saw the air shimmer as I ran towards the sound. Another lightning bug flew into my face, blinked twice, and flew upwards. The wind whispered my name. I rounded the corner, following the brook, and stopped. I had reached a pool of water. It looked green and brown, and was covered in the falling leaves of the forest. Two trees stood tall on either side of the overgrown path, their branches clasping each other. It looked almost like an archway. The frog had followed me in the water, watching. He croaked at me, and I jumped, startled by the sudden noise. I walked forward, and placed my hand on the tree. The tall oak tree’s bark was rough, but majestic, and the tree seemed to tremble at my touch, the wind rustling through the top branches. I saw that lightning bug fly down, flash twice, and head towards the pond.  I smiled and stepped beneath the outstretched limbs of the majestic Oak Trees.  The air shimmered and changed as I stepped through that archway. The pond turned a magnificent deep blue-turquoise, and hundreds of lightning bugs flashed their lights! The grass turned a bright green, and the white capped mushrooms turned a brilliant shade of red. The lavender and yellow wildflowers seemed to bloom as I gasped in awe.  I saw a blur of green, and heard my name. The wind wasn’t whispering it, it was the blur. I turned to peer at it, and saw the most magical creature was looking back at me.  She was the size of a child, about waist high, with long brown hair, and bright Green Yellow eyes- they looked like the flash of the lightning bug. Her olive brown skin was covered by cloths made of green leaves, and decorated to blend into the forest. She looked at me and her lips formed a small smile, before she giggled again. I was awestruck, I couldn’t form words. She continued to smile at me, and said my name. 

“You are the first in a very long time to hear your name on the wind,” she said. Her voice was the same as listening to the wind rustling through the trees. It was ethereal and haunting. 

“We are the Forest Spirit. You see the beauty in us. You do not harm, but observe.” The other lightning bugs all flashed in unison. I realized that the spirit was not just this sprite, but in the trees, in the mushrooms, the wind and even the frog. 

“ Because you are happy to see us, and treat us well, we will grant you one wish, and then we will lead you back to the path that returns you to your home”. This beautiful surreal place was all around me and I tried to absorb everything. My mind went through all the superficial things I could wish for and I realized; Nothing could never offer me the same feelings as this place did. I suddenly knew what I wanted.

“I wish to remember this moment exactly as it is.”

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