#51 : Under Wildwood by Colin Meloy & Illustrated by Carson Ellis
Snow is falling.
Snow as white as a swan’s feather, white as a trillium bloom. The whiteness is nearly blinding against the dark green and brown of the surrounding forest, and it lies in downy heaps between the quiet, dormant clutches of ivy and blackberry bushes. It is heaped against the bases of the tall fir trees, and it carpets the little trenches in the shallows around the wide cedar roots.
A road carves its way through the deep forest. It, too, is covered in an untouched shroud of snow.
In fact, if you didn’t know there was a road beneath the snow, if you didn’t know there were centuries of footsteps and hoofbeats and miles of weathered flagstones beneath the snow, you might just think it was a fallow stretch of woods, somehow left untouched by the forest’s teaming greenery. There are no wheel tracks, no tire treads on this road. No footprints mar the delicate white of the snow. You might think it was a game trail, a stretch of ground where no tree could take root because of a constant traffic of silent walkers: deer, elk, and bear. But even here, in this most removed area of the world, there are no animal tracks. The more the snow falls, the more the road disappears. It is becoming just another part of this vast, unending forest.
The road is quiet.