Have you ever noticed that the smell,
that wonderful, earthy smell that rules the forest,
that smell that everyone longs for in sterile days spent in
cubicle labyrinths,
is nothing less than

leaves, branches, the berries of rank juniper,
in piles upon piles,
layers upon layers,
on the dim forest floor?

Once live,
Once green,
Once high,

they breathe decay and
raise our senses to highest joys,
communion with that nature we have so oft forsaken,
and Life's qualities traced in mindful contemplation.

That thatched floor of wind-fallen wood,
thickly cushions our plodding steps,
releasing its final utterance,
its song of cycles and its breath of dank paradise,

unlocks the coffer of our mood,
shares that secret so many seem to miss
and in internal whisperings and long-held draughts of air,
teaches once more, that
from such death-beds Life bursts forth--

Green saplings seek their fortune, forcing their way skyward,
through the fallen,
and feed with fresh roots
on the inheritance left by their forefathers,
once again to grow,
once again to live,
once again to leave,
to add their layer to those primal ones laid
by trees who never leaves never sank beneath our steps.

By Erich Campbell

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