Meditation II

2009 by Maurice van Tellingen

The dark earth of the narrow forest trail is boggy and overgrown with thick tree roots. The muffled drone of a chain saw is just audible in the distance.

The trail slowly goes uphill, where the ground is dryer and covered with a thick layer of pine needles. Halfway up the hill, a large stone is sticking out of the ground, surrounded by the embers of a campfire. Dented and flattened beer cans are strewn about. Something illegible is written with a marker on the bark of a thick tree.

The trail slowly fades in the distance to disappear completely in the low thicket at the highest point of the hill. At this point an open plain is visible through the trees. On the left side of the field, small white houses light up and on the right, the silhouette of a diving tower is outlined against the blue sky. Every now and then, the sound of screaming children is heard and a vague smell of candy and French fries permeates the musty smell of the forest.

Small plants with tiny round leaves and violet flowers, which hang down in grapelike bunches, are growing between the low shrubs. Shiny brown stones barely reach above the moss covering the rest of the ground. In a small basin of water in between the roots of a tree a white flower petal is floating. Small flies are swarming around in the beams of light piercing through the canopy and a caterpillar slowly moves along the uneven moss. On a stone, a motionless salamander is looking on.

Suddenly, a flock of birds takes wing when someone walks along the bottom of the hill and simultaneously a man in a blue tracksuit comes jogging from the opposite direction. When they pass each other, the walker stops for a moment while the other, breathing heavily, disappears in the densening forest in the distance. At the top of the hill, for a moment something rustles between the leaves, and when the sound of the chainsaw also stops, all of a sudden, nothing can be heard but the murmur of the wind in the treetops.

Down again, past the rocky stone with the campfire and the beer cans to the high trees with their dense foliage. Parallel to a wider footpath, the forest trail leads back to the parking lot. The ground is bumpy here. Suddenly the atmosphere is sticky. Half decayed toilet paper is lying between the shrubs. A dog walks by without looking, wagging its tail. Presently, the same dog comes running back again and stops at the end of the trail, barking.

A wooden bench and a dumpster with the legs of a garden chair sticking out, is standing at the beginning of the paved road which is winding along the parking spaces under the trees. On either side, cars are parked in the shadow. A camper with a canoe on its roof, an open sports car in which things are lying around, ready to be snatched away. A bit further away three motor bikes with heavy saddlebags.

The sign next to the access to the main road warns of overhanging branches.