There exists, in the Southern tip of South Africa, a thick forrest where woman like me gather on dark nights to take leave of ordinary life. When the darkness (like i doubt youv ever seen) blankets thicker over the dense forestry, I walk its narrow paths that one can only see if you’ve known them. Edging through the night as it grows in its phases a howling alerts my senses to stratch out my arms and balance the surging flow of impluse, duck my head lower under the umbrella of thick trees and bushes so the crunching noises a few trees over doesn’t turn my way. The air and mist drys my cold lips as I freeze on the spot and chant a pecifing reminder that if I don’t take the next step forward, I wont be taking too many steps back either.
So I edge onto the damp leaves in front of me with my soilded, blisteted feet. Breathing slow and sparingly, only enough not to pass out. The adrenaline sends my body to overdrive so i lift my skirt from my ankles and clutch it to my chest, careful not to get caught on the dry branches or tripped by the protruding roots. Whatever is out there can see me as clear as if it were morning, and smell me, and taste me in the air.
“There they are!”, my heart leaps and sinks remembering there is still the forest to get through, the rapids to face and seeing the faint light at a distance means im much farther to hearing the drums than i anticipated. The rattling wind makes the trees sing a beautiful tone, over the sound of anything that may be approachig. It sounds like the purring of a lurking preditor, but I know its the wind blowing through the clutter of trees on the bank at the stream, even from here i can hear it. I pause to get my bearings, to listern for clarity of what it could be. I swallow hard as I take the next step… the sound of my throat contarcting seems too loud. I have to get to the beating drums and dances of jubilation where they wait for me with open arms. I dart my eyes up and down here and there as if im expecting to develop night vision ,and i am dizzy with caution. Not fear- fear reeks, Im terrified with caution.