Monday, September 5, 2011
Jack of the wild wood
“He strides across the land, his golden coat glistening in the sun, his tail a proudly waving flag. With each step the ground trembles beneath giant paws tipped with claws of steel. These woods are his; from the flat open lands of scrub and new-growth trees to the pungent swamps to the towering trees that travel up the side of mountains and run along their peaks.
“Jack knows every inch of this land, becoming almost invisible when he needs to, slipping through the woods like a ghost, catcher of rabbits and chaser of foxes. He leaps downed trees with a single bound and scales gray trunks to scan the treetops. Squirrels don’t dare to tread where Jack has been. They scurry silently away beneath underbrush, but nothing escapes Jack’s sharp ears, his powerful nose.
“Deer cannot outrun him. Bears refuse to lumber across his path. Song birds and ravens scramble to safety amongst a flurry of wings and eagles wheel away from him against endless blue skies. One snarl and flash of his gleaming white teeth and the forest falls silent, his presence fills the spaces and his bark shakes the leaves on the trees.
“Locusts swarm down the path in front of him and he scoops them up in his mouth with one fell swoop. Snap. Crunch. And he continues along the sun-bleached dirt trail, strutting over rock, swishing amongst the grasses and wading through swamp.
“Wearing a clever camouflage of cold gray mud, his fierce brown eyes peer out from a face streaked with white and black and miss nothing as he stalks the woods. He surveys his domain, challenging anyone, anything, to get in his way. Jack, the conqueror of the forest, holding sway over all the beasts, none dare enter his woods, he is a legend in these parts, a bold warrior, a…”
“Jack!” The booming voice stops him in his tracks. “Go Home!”
“Thwarted again by his arch nemesis The Neighbour, the hero turns slowly, head down, tail lowered, and tiptoes away. He moves like smoke on the wind, disappearing amongst the trees as though he never existed. The Neighbour will soon forget he saw him and once again Jack will stalk these woods, his woods, where none are safe from his piercing eyes, his kingly roar.”