I walked without the aid of the head-torch's beam when the forest turned from black to leaden grey in response to the deepening glow from the East.
Surrounded by ferns and stately beech trees, I laid down my pack, made a trail-side seat on a patch of moss and grew quiet. After the focus needed to pick each step in uncertain light, it takes a few minutes to move into stillness. The echoes of pulse, breath and footfall softened, to be replaced by rising birdsong, the muffled murmur of surf and the liquid rush of a stream.
While I walked to one rhythm another had been operating all the time. Now, the forest breathed, stretched and smiled. Light gilded the leaves and caught me in a spell.
A mounting "Dum! Dum! Dum!" broke the reverie. No deer or wild pig could tread so heavily. A moment later, I recognised a tramper from the hut of the night before, headlamp still on, eyes on the trail, in his own world of effort and so focused he didn't see me until I murmured, "Good morning!" when he drew level with my mossy seat.
The tramper shied. "Bloody hell, mate! Where did you spring from?"
I regretted the mischievous impulse to startle him. He wanted to talk while I wanted to sit in stillness for a little longer and feel the woodland breathe into a new day. He was in one space and I occupied another. Patiently, I waited. After a couple of minutes, he moved on.
The land absorbed his footfalls and then absorbed me.
Can a place align a person's energy with its own?
When a fantail, the comic of the forest, posed on my knee and cheekily flirted its feathers, I knew the answer and smiled.