The path is worn.
A scar scorched through the forest by an untold number of travelers.
The sky is gray.
What leaves remain on the trees are at rest.
Looking down, a pair of legs are moving forward but no steps are heard.
How long have they been walking?
Looking up, the path, with long snow kissed grass skirting the sides stretches on without end.
To the left an unseen cliff, to the right a spacious field filled with unremarkable flora.
The pace quickens to combat an incessant chill.
How much longer to go?
His legs ache. A glance backwards reveals nothing as the path melts away into black. The further he walks the more darkness gathers behind.
With eyes now forward on the perennial view, he feels a weakening resolve and for the first time, a shortening stride.
Ahead, a soft bend is revealed.
A new breeze arouses the leaves while the mute footsteps become perceptible.
Rounding the bend.
The once impenetrable clouds disperse to reveal a warming sun, a distinct tune from a bird and a flower in bloom.
Entranced by the surprising change he carelessly slows to a saunter while the bend hardens in front of him.
Warm turns to hot turns to blazing.
The song turns to noise turns to a cry.
The grass thickens and encroaches on the path with sharpened blades.
As he shields his eyes from the light he kicks towards the intruding growth and launches into a blind run.
The color flushes away and the noise fades to a hum, to a dead calm.
Defeated, he opens his eyes and fixes them back on the straightened path.
Source: Myles Calvert, 2023. Written in May, 2021.
The location of “the path” is heavily influenced by a hiking trail at Decew Falls / Morningstar Mill. As you walk along away from the waterfall there is a cliff on your left and at times an open field to your right.
Those who have walked it before may know it well and recognize the descriptions (although the waterfall is not mentioned in The Path).
Map of Morningstar Mill / Decew Falls area in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada