Forest III

~ tales from a mysterious, melancholy, and meaningful forest

Bud sensed scents. So many smells. Good smells, bad smells, weird smells. All interesting smells. All smells worthy of being smelt.

The good boy moved about the all of existence with his nose. The snout was the master key to the best kinds of experience this world had to offer. With his nose to the ground, leading the way, driving it above the damp soil, through the wet grass, Bud scampered. All the while, the boy made sure to pour over the many, many scents this strange and wondrous land placed before him. The sheer number of possibilities made Bud want to wag his tail. Before he knew it, it was so.

As Bud padded through this rank arboropolis, he understood little of this environment. In that it was new. All of it unfamiliar. This experience itself was fresh, in an exciting, run-around-in-circles-until-satisfyingly-dizzy for a bit way. Bud had been born and raised in one singular place. Bud only knew the farm and its immediate surroundings. The big oak with the tire swing. The barn down near the stream. The upstairs full of rooms he wasn’t allowed in. This place was big and unknown. And scary. Bud steadied himself, his fur rose along his back. A sniff and a soft growl escaped. Then, Bud-


Operating purely on instinct, Bud is galloping before he can understand why. Oh yes. Now he remembered. There’s the little furball. Clutching his nut like a heart external of his body, beating the blood in his tiny squirrel-heart and through his little legs, the squirrel runs for home. It’s not far. Bud is gaining though. The furball is familiarity; the furball is practically family compared to the rest of this dull, unknown world of big legs, touching down and grounding into the damp flooring. Bud is barking. And has been for some time. The sound is loud and big, it startles Bud more than it does the squirrel. They echo off the edges of the smaller trunks, and especially the big trunk lying ahead. The squirrel makes a beeline for it. Home.

The furball is climbing the tree faster than Bud can make the ground. It is gliding up the bark of the tree, scurrying along its infinite pawholds with ease, slashing its bushy tail back and forth in a naturalized taunt. Bud reaches the base of this massive tree with ferocious maw wide. He releases a final bark and leaps with his forepaws upon its surface. The scent of the tree is sweet. It makes the sight of the squirrel’s retreat to the safety of the tree’s elevation bittersweet.

Bud keeps his position, two of his four legs posted against the base of the tree. And he gazes upon the beast’s ascent, all the way up and up. His snout is still doing its work, having gathered the trail of the squirrel’s tail. That smell of the furball was suddenly amplified one-hundred-fold.

Within the branches of the tree, high above Bud’s watchful station, were a veritable army of furballs. So, so many. Bud’s eyes widened. As a result, he took in more within his previously limited visual field. The many-armed, hydra-esque matrix of leafy branchwork high above the sweet-smelling, sappy leg filled Bud with the feeling from the beginning of this little foray — wondrous wonder. In awe of this sweet leg and this whole world of sight far above, housing an assortment of his most dire opposition, Bud kept his gaze there, ascending it even further.

Soon Bud craned his little neck to its maximal limit. It was more than enough. Bud stared deeply into the sky, mouth agape, breathing those little dog-breaths. Stuffy and puffy grey blobs stretched across a blue mass, slowly drifting, azurely shifting across the reflections of Bud’s big brown dog-eyes. At the sight, in the awe, Bud chooses to close his dog-mouth. A small little yelping growl releases from deep within, unconsciously and soundlessly. This perspective of this whole other world above, forged itself together for him. Above the home of the furball, above anywhere he’d ever seen the masters go, there lay a new world, one made of up.

What a sight, Bud muses. Bud takes a deep breath. Bud turns away from the sky and back to the bark of the base of the tree before him. He shakes his head and hops off, turning as he does, landing back on his familiar four. Bud stares back through the pillared passage he has made through these woods, running and barking and doing his daily dogging.

Bud looks further, far ahead of the small spaces just beyond his snout, back the way he believed he had come. Bud looks inward too.

I am lost. He understands. Without thinking, Bud releases a grand dog-sneeze, blasting it into the damp soil at his feet. That felt good.

I need to get home, Bud thinks.

Bud starts to pad his way back to the farm and out of the forest, with patience. ~