Written by Stephanie Shugerman

Close your eyes and walk. The heat of the sun beats on your shoulders; a glow creeping through your body, warmth from the top of your head to your bare toes on the ground. Wind swirls around your body, fluttering your shirt, the soft fabric brushing your bare arms. Goosebumps form on your arms, innocent tingles from the flowing fabric on your skin. Trees rustle in the breeze like musical shakers, a deafening noise, louder than even the thoughts in your head. The brushing breeze carries the sounds of birds from above your head. The melodious calling of songbirds, mixes with angry calls of nearby hawks. Soft refrains that swim in the breeze, in front, behind, above, on each side of you; surrounding you with song. Taking careful steps, you move, bare heels crushing leaves beneath the soles of your feet, pebbles digging into the skin on your heels. The ground changes texture beneath your toes. Rough gravel turns to a cushion of grass, cold and damp with dew, water droplets stick to the hem of your jeans. Long arms outstretched, palms reaching for the soft silk of flower petals. Hands brushing over flower after flower, an ocean of bouquets, a sea of sweet smells. Between soft flowers are rough plants, thorny stems, and smooth leaves. As the forest leads you forward, the path beneath your legs begins to feel steeper, you lean forward as you walk up. You start to hear a distant noise, almost like a running faucet. The further up the path you walk, the louder the sound becomes; the ground begins to even out, almost pulling you forward after walking up the steep hill. The sound becomes so loud, the smell of water is there right in front of your feet; the sounds of water gushing out over rock and crashing down below. You stand in place, listening to the sounds of the meadow, the stream, the life. And your eyes flutter open, the glimmer of sunlight asking for your gaze.