It was nearly sunset as I crashed through the forest.
I usually make some noise while hiking in areas with bears, wild hogs and snakes, so that they have a chance to clear out before I confront them.
Plus, I’d just left a community jam session, and the little bit of sing-along got my musical heart beating. I sang loudly.
The trail was empty. I rapped the trees with my hiking poles as I sang and shouted. I walked fast and didn’t think about singing.
A creek and lowlands surround the trail. Jack-in-the-pulpit, May apple and Vasey’s trillium love the rich soil here.
This year, the land is filled with ferns. Fronds feather into a green mist, soaking up sound.
The silence stopped me.
I was utterly alone in the forest.
One wood thrush sang its piercing, eerie cry. No cars. No planes overhead. Just me and the wood thrush.
And the ferns.
I stopped whacking the trees. I walked in silence in the fading light.
I thought about the places I’ve sung – solos in high school, weddings and bars in college, a Medieval Women’s Choir and an improvisational group in Seattle, Messiah sing-alongs wherever I could, a community choir.
My own silence hurts me. Where is my singing now?
The ferns are thick. The path disappears among them.
Today’s penny is a 2013, the last time I sang in a public performance.