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I decided to go back to the forest, to plant myself among the trees and unleash my spirit in the air. It was a moment in time, where wind and breath become a continuum of fresh born life. It was a cloudy day, pregnant with a sense of rain but not a drop touched the ground and with each step forward, I unfolded through tiny wildflowers peeking through leaves and sticks. There were exotic mushrooms mounted on trees, and open-faced acorns awaiting complete consumption by frisky little critters lurking about. The trail was supposed to be 1.2 miles, but time seemed to be moving at length and the path felt like it ran on and on forever. Every time I thought I completed the loop, I found myself walking more. I must admit, I was feeling a little anxious. I was walking alone, and the ground-scape seamlessly blended into the path so I had to hold on to my footing very carefully. I thought, “Am I headed the wrong way?” I heard a young couple walking up behind me. As they neared my location, I asked with an awkward chuckle, “Hey, does this trail ever end?” I was assured by the young man that we were all close to our final destination. At first, they followed me and again very awkwardly, I uttered, “Well, if we never get out of here, at least we have each other…” but the path veered in a direction further into the woods. Once we realized that, the young man took charge and redirected. Now, I was walking behind them. Boy, they moved fast and at a rapid clip! Talking and laughing and moving swiftly by, just maneuvering with accuracy and skill; up and down small hills, squeezing through narrowing paths, stepping on top and underneath rocks, jumping over fallen trees and beyond! One foot in front of the other, onward they went! At first, I just wanted to keep up with them, so I didn’t feel alone or lost. Then I became curious as to how in the world they were conquering this path like some secret walking weapons of destruction or something. I was trying to keep up with them, my feet in rhythm and pace with theirs but the terrain could easily twist and break an ankle. I couldn’t imagine how fast they were going with such ease when I was gasping for breath to the point I could almost taste stagnation. I thought about youth and age and the differences between, sweating through this fury to the end. Nothing in the path phased them and I was falling further and further behind. Then, I decided to just be me, to go at my pace and come back to the ground where my steps followed the wild-flowers and magic mushrooms. I deliberately slowed my pace down and found my footing. I kept one eye on them and an inner eye on me. I moved gracefully and with reflection, engaging with the secrets and signature of nature. My lungs found breath again, my body caught up with my feet, my heart rate balanced, harmonizing with the surroundings and I was present. I was moving but I was here, and I was now. They were fading, moving out of my vision but I was here, and I was now and then eventually, they were gone--now, just an apparition of others once walking their path. That’s when I stopped. I looked down and saw the pearlescent spiral of a shell, like a backpack of wisdom moving atop the rocks. It was a snail moving at his own pace, one meter at a time. I’ve never seen a snail in person before and then I heard the wind whisper. It said: When you slow down, you get to see what’s for you and experience what’s yours. Jennifer Circosta, Tiny Poet, 7.16.2023 Jennifer Circosta is our AFSI Blogger, Public Relations Assistant and Emotional Wellness Coach. She is the Owner of GENTLE TOUCH HEALING 💜 Healing through Compassion. She can be reached at:

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