Within moments, I realised I was lost. Not such a comforting thought. And yet only 40 minutes before I’d been stepping confidently along the path, imagining I was Alice, down the rabbit hole. It felt very much like that. Curiosity drove me further and further forward, while the small voice, continually pushed back into it’s place, kept telling me to make sure I took note of features I’d remember for the trip back out.
And I did. Until suddenly I did’t.
But until that moment of realisation, I was only conscious of the fallen giants around me. Wondering what momentous event, obviously reasonably recently, had caused so many of them to come crashing down, every which way. Roots upended. There was a call to photograph. One after another I made pictures of their effigies, and the phrase “standing on the shoulders of the ancestors” came to mind. It felt very eery I suddenly noticed, like these were the elders. Their towering strength undermined and destabilised by some recent disturbance. Completely overpowering them, bringing them to their knees. And I felt very sad.
It was quite unnerving to find that at this point I didn’t recognise any of my surroundings. I knew that the track couldn’t be far away, until I discovered that there were actually many tracks, and which was mine would be pure guess at this point. Fortuitously my cellphone had reception, despite zilch only 1/2 a km down the road. At least I could get a bearing. At that moment, a fantail turned up, chirping and circling me within arms length, chattering away as I made my way forward, still no clue where I was going except vaguely in the direction of home. Still flitting forward and back, up and around, and chittering at me sternly, the fantail accompanied me, and suddenly I was back on the track. The same one I needed to find my way out.
And I was aware of the silence. The fantail had gone.