Do you hear them? That faint laughter, like the burble of water over rocks. That beckoning whisper, like the rustle of leaves as the slightest wind stirs them into an improvised dance. That conspiratorial murmur, like the coo of a mother bird.
Take a step - careful - watch where you put your weight. You’ll scare them away if you breathe too loudly. They are scared of you, you see. You aren’t like them and they aren’t like you. Here - try inhaling through your nose, exhaling through your mouth, expanding your chest with each breath like you are allowing the world a brief moment of respite in the warmth of your ribcage. Breathe as if you were standing in the roiling stomach of a blue whale, as if the slightest dissonance in your lungs is enough to dash you away in a whirlpool of half-eaten fishes and ocean salt.
Now, listen. Listen as if you are not you, but one with that bubble of laughter, that whispered sigh, that lilted murmur.
Now, look. Look as if your eyes were made of glass and your eyelids gauze and your eyelashes ferns. Search for the glyphs in the dapplings of sunlight. Seek out the murals of tattooed history inked into the worn skin of the oak trees. Gaze into the shallow puddle of dew at your feet, and do not look away, even when a ripple paddles through its glassy surface, even as the woods remain still around you.
Now inhale and exhale. Allow the musk of the forest to fall away. Allow the delicate, probing hairs inside your nose to pursue that wisp of perfume beneath the cloying veil of woods. Do you smell that? The rich mushroom stew. The airy buttery croissant. The tang of salt and iron and fire in a pheasant’s leg.
Now, stop listening and looking and sniffing. Just wait. Keep your ears and eyes and nose open, flex your fingers to remind yourself that you haven’t fallen away into the ether between worlds, and wait.
And if you are lucky, if you are patient, if you are willing to believe the senses that lie beyond your five physical biases, perhaps they will allow you a glimpse of them and theirs.