The leaves crinkled under my feet as I walked through the forest. Fall had come late this year. The water levels were low in the river, which increased the ripples and splashes over the rounded worn down rocks. The path, nestled in the forest was my perfect escape from the world. Little animals ran freely all around, curious of my presence. The squirrel stopped, standing up tall and asking if I had any nuts or seeds. I told him I was nuts enough for us both, that’s why I was here. He said goodbye and scurried away. I really should bring snacks next time, although I didn’t need morsels as bribes to make friends. Occasionally, I would hear a crack of a branch as a bird would take off with too much force or a squirrel had already stored too much pudge but still thought he could go on that thin branch. The rest of the time, the thick sound of silence all around me hung in the air. It muffles out any sound not native to these parts and it lets me forget about the world outside these trees for a while. This is the forest of my soul. This is the peace that lives within me. When I am in nature, things feel balanced and right in the world. I breathe in serenely, enjoying the wonder. Sitting down against a tree in a pile of leaves, I put my head in my hands, face down, and I start crying. Only here in the forest depths do I feel free to bare my soul. Only here can I let the tears fall down my cheeks. Escaping to wash the pain and sadness away. Cleansing my mind and soul for another day. I don’t ever want to leave