I was lost.
I had been exploring a long stretch of woods near the house when I'd stumbled across a yellow jacket nest and had to run away from the menacing swarm. I ran with my arms up, breaking through tangled briars and tree limbs alike - not once did I even think about checking for a landmark!
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
I wondered about for nearly an hour before I realized that I was circling the same stretch of ground. Luckily, for me, I had managed to clear the adrenaline and panic from my mind by that point so that I could start thinking about how to get out of this mess rather then letting myself race about like a foolish child. The first thing I had to do was figure out where I was as there were nearly twelve miles of interconnected woods that I had been stumbling through with roads cutting through them at various points, I just had to figure out where I was in relation to them.
I climbed the highest hill I could find and scanned everything about me looking for something I recognized. An edge to the woods would have been great, or even one of my landmarks that would lead me out. Nothing. I couldn't find anything familiar. Well, fuck, I said as I started climbing the pine tree near the crest, looks like I'm going to have to do this the hard way. The pine sap got on my hands and on my jacket while little piss ants did their best to discourage my progress up the forty foot tree; but God what a view. I broke the canopy and hung to the top of the tree looking out over God's creation like Jove himself had made this view just for me.
From up there I could see where the creek cut through the hills towards the lake and the distant path of a road as it cut its way through the woods and off towards the civilized world. I sighed as I measured the distance to the road from my position. Two hands breadths, I whined, this is why you don't run in the woods you dumb ass. Now you're looking at one hell of a hike just to get started going home. Resigned to my fate, I started climbing down the tree only to find three wild dogs circling the tree like they had run me up it. Two chows and rottweiler started snarling and barking at me as I came back into their view.
My heart sank as I sat on a limb out of their reach and tried to figure out how long they would sit there. An hour? Four? More? Did I have that long? I held my heads up towards the setting sun and measured my remaining daylight. If I wanted to make it home before dark then I would have get a move on; but how? I looked up the tree trunk toward the heavens and contemplated jumping from tree to tree like a man dreaming of flying. Nope, I said as I looked back at the rottweiler, that way isn't going to get me anywhere.
The dogs were pawing up the tree trying to get me and snipping at each other when the scratched flesh. I came to a decision and looked about me as though this would be the last time and said, Set your teeth, son, this is going to hurt. With that I leapt off the tree limb and dropped right on top of them.