The Forest's Attention

Once a year there is a dance put on by forest folk. There is laughing and feasting and great steps round and round that are met by all who watch it with eyes of wonder.

            It does not have a particular date, this dance. There is no ready calling that announces its presence or heralds the coming of the time.

            The date is set when the moment is right. And for that, we must pay attention.

            If one fails in that attention, the forest will give up its dance—magic must have someone to bear witness to it after all. And there have been years when there has been no one who sits with the long rhythm that lends sight to the moment of the annual gaiety. For this one moment is begot by gravity and gentle care, a sacrifice that leads to the merriment; a heavy price to pay for an observer.

            If no one pays the price, the forest has no dance, and grows smaller.

            Soon, like the fairies, it will wink out.

            And then, what is left?

            It is said that we will have to dance ourselves.

            Perhaps that will bring the forest back to life.

            But, then, perhaps not.

            It is far better to pay attention.

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