I emerged from the cover of the forest and stood at the lakeshore. Its surface rippled with a thousand raindrops, on a journey from the heavens. More fell in the trees behind me, giving voice to the sleepy woods, whispering to me of their voyage—and of mine. They must have watched me coming to that place. Perhaps they wondered who they would meet me at the lake’s edge.
To my right rose a rocky slope, and above it and the snowy summit dominating that place. Across the lake, the forest continued, eventually dropping back toward the world from which I had come, far below, beyond sight and thought. In a way, that world had borne me out of it, up to that place near the clouds, alone. Seemingly alone.
The man across the lake seemed to melt out of the trees. I don’t know how long he was there before I noticed him—he glided out of the woods and no branch moved to mark his coming. He seemed an extension of the forest. Maybe he had always been there. If he noticed me, he gave no sign of it. I could just make out the shape of his eyes beneath the hood he wore up. They were downcast, intent upon the surface of the lake, searching for something in its waters. I raised my hand, and the movement caught his attention. Our eyes met across the waters. Neither of us moved for a moment, but merely examined the other over the long distance. Each wondered about the other. After a space of breath and heartbeats, he raised his hand to mirror my greeting, or to bid me farewell. He turned then, as mist rolled down from the mountainside to cover that far shore. The last glimpse I had of him was a shadow merging once more with the forest.