"Jillian! Where are you going?" My friend, Emily, called after me like I was her child walking away from her in a department store. She was not from around here and she was not happy with my idea of a break.
"Emily, just calm down I'm going for a walk. I have been through these woods a hundred times I will be fine. Go have yourself a nice cup of coffee in town. I will call you when I'm ready to leave." The day was long enough for me already, and barely half past noon. It was time for a break and my break did not include anything other than this forest.
In this place many of my childhood memories have been laid to rest. Ten years have passed since I last visited the forest before moving to the New York when I was eight years old. Countless summer days I wandered aimlessly through these very woods. Now the cold of winter has settled in, and all around me all I see is the blanketing snow. Just as I am no longer the child I once was, the forest is not the same either.
Some of the trees I once climbed are no longer standing. Deforestation has corrupted the natural cycle of life in some spots. In other places, where I remember a tree not standing, is the home to a new tree that will one day also be cut down. Seedlings have flourished to great oaks and pines. The icy terrain gives the forest a certain decorative touch that is far from the summer pictures I have kept in my mind.
"The nerve of some of these business companies these days," I mumbled to myself as I walked through the forest.
"You got that right," said an unfamiliar voice.
"Who's there?" I asked. "Emily? Is that you? I thought I told you to go get some coffee or something. I really just need to be alone right now." I knew how Emily was; she was not comfortable with me doing this. I looked around for a few moments, but no one appeared so I just went on my way.
Nevertheless, I thought to myself, the forest remains. Despite the struggles of many to completely overrun the entire place, put up buildings and offices, the forest has planted its roots deep into the ground as if saying, "This is our home and we will not leave." I continued my journey. I passed a few trees that were the same ones I would climb, I could tell by the markings on the trunk. In my mind I see myself climbing the tree. My hand brushes over the bark as I walk by.