As is usual, when she enters her sanctuary, she is alone. This time, the atmosphere replicates her mood. The skies are turbulent. Rain soaked trees appear as furious slashes in the dim air. The green of the leaves are of a deep shade, a shade found only in the darkest of imaginations.
Today, she is here, not for fun, adventure or beauty. She came for the solitude. Knowing what she is here for, the mountains do not attempt to offer peace. Instead, they weep with her. Her cheeks are smudged with the tears of the Smokies. Skin dampened, she hugs her arms to her body as the chill deepens.
Carefully, she makes her way down the rock strewn path. Knowing that one misstep could produce even more pain. Coming upon the creek, she stops short. The stepping stones that she had previously used are now underwater. She walks the bank, searching for a way to get to the other side. She realizes that she is at a dead end. Her way is blocked. She turns around and finds another path. Heading down it, she hopes for the same solitude.
The forest is dark and foreboding. Silence reigns, save for the steady drumbeat of the rain. She begins the climb she has reached. The path disappears as it makes a turn ahead. She is left wondering where it will take her, what lies ahead.
In the distance, she hears a whisper rapidly becoming a roar. Lifting her eyes, she sees treetops ahead begin to stir. Closer and closer, it moves. She follows the path of the coming wind, knowing that heavier rain is coming with it, but is helpless to stop it. It makes it's way to her, drenching her, then moving on.
She stops midtrail and makes a slow turn. Everywhere she looks, she sees the tangle of downed trees from a prior windstorm. Upturned, splintered roots, giants fallen, yet there is still a grace in this chaos.
Through the gloom, the soft lavender of trailside flowers glow. Boulders in the path are surrounded by ferns in delicate shades of green. The mountain treasure is revealed, even in the darkness. Subtle beauty is offered, not as cheer , but as comfort. Letting her know, when she is ready, it awaits.
For the mountain knows that at these times, she does not need to be told that it will get better. She simply needs it to be there, to listen, to understand . Today, they listened.