Into the Woods

She had fallen off the cliff in the struggle and was tumbling backwards the five hundred feet to the trees below. She remembered what they had looked like, when she had stood at the top, looking down at their stillness, all uneven carpet and solidity. She turned over those few moments at the top, when, alone and impatient, she had looked out over the forest that stood in its antiquity at the clouds and the grumblesome mountains beyond and felt only irritation at being kept waiting.

The argument she didn’t think about, wouldn’t let herself think about, nor the unexpected blow that had rocked her back toward the edge of the earth. She had rotated, somehow; now she was looking down at the trees that were rushing up to her, watching as they lost that uniformity that spoke of distance and safety. They swelled toward her, individual and menacing.

She was spinning faster. Trees, then the cliff wall, then the wide arc of the blue sky, then the mountains, then the trees again. Her limbs were loose and relaxed. She had screamed, once, as she grappled for balance. The fall itself was calming. She was dreaming of flight when she crashed into the trees, and her face was ecstatic as she was battered from pine and cedar and fir.