Sighing with frustration, he stepped through the dead leaves on the forest floor. The quiet was unsettling, but preoccupied as he was with everything else, he barely noticed. His mind was drowning in all his problems, scrambling for air and a breath and a chance to think about something else before the next wave swept over. He neared a fallen log, and wondered once again why on earth he had listened to his brother. The woods would hardly make him calm, he detested dirt and bugs and brown dead things.
Sighing with disgust, he inspected the fallen log for any signs of insect habitation. Satisfied, though still doubtful that his naturally carved sofa was really critter-free, he eased himself down. Surprisingly, his focus on ensuring the cleanliness of the log had cleared his mind somewhat. He crossed one leg over the other and leaned back, listening to the intermittent snatches of birdsong, the swirling rush of the stream in a desperate neck-and-neck race with the man-made trail, the reluctant crinkle of a leaf caused by a hare tentatively stepping out of a nearby bush. Apparently the forest wasn't so quiet after all. He wondered what else he had missed hearing lately.
Sighing with pleasure, he finally allowed himself to lose the worries that had been burdening him for the past months. The cucumber greens and dark ceramic maroons of the redwoods were rather soothing. Moving leaves up above made Shakespearean shadow plays on the fallen needles. He reflected for a moment on how the intricacy of the patterns mirrored life. Deciding not to dwell on that complexity lest he fall back into the dark navy ocean, he instead turned his attention to the roof of swaying branches and stared at the sky, surrendering himself to the pale, calm lapis sky.
Sighing with reluctance, he trudged back to his car. He had felt peaceful here, but it was time to return to work. Now, though, his mind was clear and he felt he could handle it. He supposed his brother must've been right. Maybe nature really did have some healing power.
*Note: I originally posted this as the first part of a short story, but soon decided it was getting rather bulky and unwieldy. So I got rid of that and just wrote the vignette that had been rolling around in my head every now and then these last few months. One of the perks of not having any readers, I suppose - until I get one, I can change things around as much as I want. ^_^