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February 15, 2010

The tangle of branches and thorns are wide and dense, sharply turned toward the path and show no visible entry and a calm fog drifts slowly along the warm earth. Cold wet wind runs through my hair chilling my ears stinging the back of my neck making my shoulders hunch up. My hand pushes against the brush and I push forward, tiny burrs snagging my shirt sleeves and catching in my hair. Lifting my foot higher the sticks break underneath my foot easily as they are sharp and dangerous but thin and weak. Turning my hip, shielding my face with my hands, chin tucked close to my chest I alternate between instinctively shutting my eyes to avoid puncture and trying to watch where I am going. Breathing comes in little jags, my exhalations congregating in front of my lips in tiny clouds. Growing impatient, using my arms like a bat-hacking away at the forest growth in front of me I try to see if it is clearing, letting up and opening up. Stopping suddenly to look around, catch my breathe I can tell it only grows thicker, with squishier ground and darker still appearing to narrow like  a tunnel of undergrowth like barbed wire.

To turn around and go back puts me where I started with injuries obtained for nothing.

Curiosity wins and I bend my knees to accommodate the new width and height of my path, stretching out my fingers, grasping the leaves and trees and ripping them out of my way as tiny drops of blood form on my palms. My lips are dry and my tongue does no good work of keeping my mouth moist I remember to open my eyes. Compelled to move forward a small corner of my mind whispers, move to your right, or move to your left. Automatic pilot guides you as if you were on  a track with your fear and anticipation shouting so loudly autonomic control takes over marching your feet, stretching out your arms, heaving breath in and out of your chest quicker and quicker as you become light headed and disoriented.

Crouching down farther still your muscles ache and reflexively you stand bolt up, step to the right taking a few easier steps.

Right off the edge of the earth.

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