The rain hits the lush green canopy overhead. Pat. Pat pat pat pat. As its intensity increases so does the frequency with which droplets break through my leafy roof and splash on my nose.
I take a big lungful of thick, humid air. The breeze can’t break through the forest today to cut the thickness. I can smell and taste the damp, dark dirt and the dead wet leaves decomposing into it, in one breath.
Beads of perspiration form along my hairline. When whey get too big and heavy they roll down my temples, down the bridge of my nose to join the raindrops.
I pick my way over slick grey rock, holding onto willowy tree trunks in case my feet slide out from beneath me. I stop and listen.
The forest is silent but for the pat pat pat of the rain. No red squirrel scolds me. No songbird calls out to another. Not even a mosquito buzzes my ears.
I find a rock to sit on and listen a little longer. I absorb the nothingness. I quiet the ongoing chatter and noise in my head, remnants of an earlier, tense exchange bouncing around like a Ping Pong ball.
I wish I could bottle up the sound of this rain to take back with me to the city when the cacophony of light rail transit and condo construction, blaring car horns, rattling dump trucks, and ceaseless conversations becomes too much.
But I know bottling it up and listening to it in the city isn’t the same. The musky smell of the forest won’t be there. The bright green trembling aspen and white birch canopy won’t be there. The rain drops on my face won’t be there either.
I breathe in the silence, willing every cell in me to remember what it feels like, and continue hiking the trail to camp.