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Tropical Leaves

Hogs in the Forest

I emerge from a sparkling pool into the shimmering forest. The pines seem to be coated in diamond dust, and they twinkle with timeless beauty in the light.

"Where am I?" I ask myself. My surroundings appear to be some kind of enchanted forest. Several large bipedal deer migrate past the clearing on the other side of a thicket, and I see that they are tossing handfuls of emeralds hither and thither. I have been led to understand that this is a crucial job to be done in all such forests, but I have yet to ascertain its exact purpose.

The three musclebound bipedal deer turn to me and wink in unison, two of them winking their left eyes, and one closing his right. The geometric significance of this is not lost on me.

Looking down upon my form, I discover that my body is soaking wet from the forest pool I have just emerged from, but I was unable to feel this, as unlike in the lower realms, being soaking wet here is a delightful experience; it is as though every drop of the crystalline liquid is snuggling me, even as they evaporate away.

Several of the towering pines bend over to peer at me curiously. Perhaps in former times I would have felt intimidated by such an inspection, but I can feel the loving inquisitiveness of the great trees, and submit willingly to their perusal.

An acorn tumbles from high, high up one of these bending trees, and comes to rest just in front of where I am sitting on a large violet toadstool. I pick up the acorn and admire its beauty, the elegant patterning of its armadillo shell.

One of the pines, or perhaps all of them, for I am of the mind that their consciousness functions collectively, broadcasts an image into my mind. It is a third-person image of me holding the pine cone to my heart. I do just this, and I feel the pine cone communicate to me the most delightful sensation of unconditional love. I feel that the pines have entrusted me with one of their precious babies, and I am greatly honored. I tuck the little pine cone into my kangaroo pouch, and continue smiling into the middle distance.

I can hear several hyperiohogs rooting about in the undergrowth behind me, but I am mostly unconcerned. In the lower realms, hyperiohogs may have posed some hazard, but not here. In this realm, they root about only as a means of self-amusement, and if encountered face to face will often flee into the brush. However, if one can win their trust one may be rewarded with a conversation of unimaginable richness, in which the hyperiohog will hold forth on the subject of proper rooting technique, and will not hesitate to espouse on some of the most legendary roots of all time, most of which took place in the Days of Yore.

One must be careful, though, not to suggest even indirectly that one has extensive experience, or even any experience at all, with rooting, for this will immediately be perceived by the hyperiohog as a challenge, a challenge whose only resolution can come by way of a duel. And my friends, a duel with a hyperiohog is not something you want.

I drop several pamphlets into the foliage behind me. These I crafted long ago, and in their many folds they explain painstakingly that any hyperiohogs in the vicinity truly have nothing to worry about, for I have practically no experience with rooting whatsoever, and hardly know anyone who has, or at least no one I wish to bring up at present, for fear of arousing the ire of the hyperiohogs. The intensity of the rooting dies down a bit, presumably as the hyperiohogs mentally digest my pamphlets. After a pause of several minutes the rooting resumes with renewed fervor, and I interpret in this rooting a joyous, almost ecstatic vein, as though the news contained in my pamphlets has delighted them to no end.

Most of the nearby blades of grass have been poking me for some time, but at first I did not notice in my concern of the hyperiohogs. Nonetheless, I wish to attend to these grasses, who poke travelers when they wish to be stroked. I stroke their many blades now, and they collectively emit a purr which tells me I have done my job well.

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