We are quite a noisy bunch but we manage to remain out of sight.
The travellers journeying across the path mistake us for the rustle of leaves or for invisible creatures slithering through the undergrowth, shying away from the humans.
Which suits us well enough.
We do not seek to make ourselves known, at least not to everybody.
We merely want to get close enough to the path to eavesdrop on the wanderers without revealing our presence.
Most travellers stick to the path, occasionally pausing to catch their breath, peer into the woods, and wonder what lies beyond. Mostly, they choose not to satisfy their curiosity, and after a brief pause, they continue onwards.
Some think a paradise of sorts awaits them at the end of the path, what with the town council – in its schemes to lure more tourists to the forgotten region – having advertised breathtaking views overlooking cliffs and oceans to be found at the end of the trail.
Some others believe the journey is more significant than the destination, and seek to enjoy the pleasures of walking down the trail, one hidden turn leading to another.
Often they try to capture the sights and sounds and smells in their cameras, creating a heap of pictures that never receive a second glance; they are forgotten no sooner than they are clicked.
We usually wait for the lone travellers who seek us out and talk to us.
We do not see them as often as we would like but when they do come, we delight in their visits and the intelligent conversations they make.
They inquire after the creatures of the land, and ask us questions about the trail and its history.
How old is the trail?
Older than the sun and the moon.
Who created the trail?
The creatures that live in the woods.
Where are those creatures now?
They are labelled extinct but in truth they remain cleverly hidden in the woods.
Sometimes they ask us tricky questions.
Once a little girl asked if the trail leads to heaven.
No, it does not, no matter what your idea of heaven may be, we answered.
Then how do I get to heaven, she asked.
But we didn’t know what to say.
We do not always have appropriate answers to their questions.