heartwood

heartwood

One tree amongst the slow fade of forest invaded his senses. His hand ran over its roughness, pitting fragile skin against an older animal. The feeling of time solidified into a mute immensity of lumbering life, then smoothness—the trace of a human hand. The belly of the tree had been split open, its heartwood a divulged red secret. A face, ghostlike and foreign, peered out from the wild facelessness of its surroundings, nature made mirror to man in a vicious gesture of creation. Jacob felt an energy course through him, opening his body to the soaring grey eternity of the sky overhead and the damp, matted soil below. A fevered and momentary image of flesh congealing into the hard thrust of roots digging down for older darkness, as fingers splayed and tongued into pale white branches hunting for the last wisps of daylight. For a moment he felt himself thrown into the hollowed eyes of the carved countenance, staring back at his own ashen face, pale useless eyes, and hunched form. Face to face in the fog, two entangled forms made sacred with scars in the violence of vision. And then night fell, dissolving all forms and faces into a thick, black, resonant anonymity.