The snow is thin on the ground at the trailhead, just a shimmering dust on the trees and ferns. The trail is a thin ribbon of brown soil weaving through the immaculate white; the stark contrast repeated with all of the hues of the forest; gray and red brown tree trunks; the rich green of the pine needles; a trickling silver stream lined with steel gray stones. The brilliant colors are precise and orderly against the undisciplined snow. The contrast is flawless; bright and clear, the air electric with cold. As we ascend, the snow amasses like icing on the trees, coating the trail and squeaking softly under our feet. The pines tower over the path like giants on stilts; their slender trunks reaching for sunlight. Pines have an improbable symmetry and correctness that is always exposed by the disorderliness of a dappled snowscape such as this. The unruly snow reveals their unrelenting quest for perfection. My eyes follow the stretching trunks up to their long branches shielding the forest floor. Trees are community-oriented. One will not intrude on another’s valuable resources. You can see it in the forest canopy; the branches carefully fill in the spaces without touching, fitting together like puzzle pieces, politely coexisting, taking what they need and leaving what they don’t. The sun shines through the dark boughs heavy with snow. Squinting up at them I think that they look like a shadow on the sky. Climbing higher, the growing blanket of snow dulls the sound, making the air feel thick, devouring all noise. Even the bird calls are muffled. To hear your surroundings you have to pause your trek because even the soft crunch of your footsteps drowns out everything else. The trail winds through the silent and still wood while the sun falls lower in the sky. Even though I cannot see the disappearing orb, it is clear that dusk will arrive soon. The changing light is casting shadows and painting everything a neat black and white. In a world devoid of color, I break into a jog; I want to make it to the peak before nightfall steals the sprawling view. My calves scream and my breath comes in short puffs forming steamy clouds while I run up the serpentine slope. Eventually I break out of the forest, emerging on the rocky outlook I have been tenaciously loping towards for the past two hours. The sky is tinged with shades of deep ocean blue and gray; menacing clouds gather on the horizon like a storm swell. A blanket of fog rests on the valley below like calm water and the clouds are the ocean surging as if lifted from beneath, rising in a powerful cresting wave. The mountains emerge from the mist like snow-capped islands. I count my moments of solitude before casting a quick worried glance in the direction of the setting sun and I am off again. Back in the dense woods, dusk is turning the forest blue. The storm swell unleashed a tidal wave of color that is transforming the trees, the air, the stones; all shades of navy and cerulean.  Even the snow has a bluish tint and the air is alive with indigo steam from my deep exhales. Dusk in the forest is magic. It transforms familiar landscapes into the unknown–even places you were standing only moments ago; at dusk it is a place you have never been. As night falls and the light changes, trees move in the deafening silence, shadows shift without reason, the air is full of anticipation as the rulers of the dark awake. It transforms what is common into something ethereal. It is as if you are viewing everything through a thin azure veil; it blurs the edges until you cannot tell where the trees begin or end. A wood during the day is a different place entirely at night but at dusk it is unrecognizable to either. Being crepuscular is to be of a different world. Twilight represents vast possibility, where limits are vague and reach only as far as your imagination. It is the place nestled between the shadow and your soul. Dusk in a remote place is a dream state and we may all be the dreamers. When the wave of inky black finally sweeps over the wood, we awake and the edges return.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. David Sudmeier says:

    I like the phrase, “Twilight represents vast possibility, where limits are vague and reach only as far as your imagination.”
    How do we enlarge our imaginations to take advantage of the possibilities? Certainly it requires more than a conscious, deliberate act of will. Perhaps dusk permits us to glimpse only those possibilities which offer resolution in a forest of our own making?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeannette says:

    I love how you take a simple action and create suspense and emotion in your words and It makes me want more… Please keep posting!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I could not find a comments button on your newer posts, but I love the piece about Joshua Tree!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. inwildness says:

      Thanks so much for reading!


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