The Girl and the Bear
There is a place in the mountains just far from here. This is the most beautiful and exquisite place you might ever see. It has much green grass and plenty of water and strong green trees. In the morning the sun rises up over the mountains. It creeps high into the sky, bright and yellow. Warm and powerful. It comes every morning, save for those especially clouded, grey, white days, and heats up the soil below. It melts the ice crystals that blanket the land so that round shining water droplets collect upon the leaves and grass. Then it warms them more and more until they evaporate and the ground is hard and dry, sandy with mud, but mostly green with grass. Well this place is very beautiful. The trees give fruits, nuts and berries, great red berries. And forest flowers grow upon the floor during the summer months. The nuts are varied and scatter upon the ground. They are sweet and nutritious. The place is very vast, it covers many miles and very few people live there. A lumberjack every now and then. There are areas where trees run for hundreds of miles, and here live sparrows and jackdaws and robins and grey tits and spiders and mice and fat caterpillars and woodlice. Then there are clearer areas where trickling water splashes down through the rocks and ledges. The water is clear and cool. Maybe it derives from a spring somewhere up in those mountains. The animals can drink.
Quite high up, perhaps into the higher of the mountains, is a place where the snow threatens, but never quite reaches to submerge. Here there is a reasonably sized clearing surrounded by forested land. As one ascends, there is one particular area of forest on the right hand side of this clearing, an area very vast and dark once one delves into its heart. In this part, among the insects and animals, the birds and the tall evergreens, lives a girl. She is a girl who lives here. Her home is a hollowed out tree, and her work is in the forest. The girl lives alone; though she is not lonesome, save for on occasion. For she has her work and her thoughts to occupy her time and mind. She cares for the animals when they are unwell, she mixes potions from the plants and flowers and fruits around her, and when she is done, she climbs the trees to look out across the mountains, or makes talismans and mascots from the forest detritus. She can make such like from the empty skulls of long dead creatures, from the husks and shells of the fruit that the land has consumed, from the seeds and pines that the forest sheds. And she can paint them with the blood and juice of animals and fruits. Her own home, inside a very large and tall tree, is decorated too with such objects as these. Red, brown, dead and immortal, hanging from the entrance to her home.
This tree that she calls her own is of quite large circumference with a hole in its side just a metre or so from the ground. Though the girl has covered the hole with a fabric so as not to allow the moths in each night or the bright light in each dawn, one can see that beneath the thin curtain, there is a room furnished inconspicuously and providing residence to a one individual. This is where she lives.
Sometimes the girl is cold. But that hasn’t been for quite a while now, and these days she sees more light. She can see the sunlight and feel it on her skin, and she can see the clean, white moonlight, and the hot, kind light of the night’s stars. She has friends in the forest, but mostly she is contented to live alone, to speak for herself. Some friends are raccoons, chipmunks, a few woodcutting folks, and of course the fish and the trees and the insects around her. And she also knows a bear.
Second part coming soon!