There was a path going through the forest, separated from the wildlife by a wooden fence. The fence was high enough for admiring adults to lean on it when they wanted to look closer at the animals and plants on the other side, but there were enough gaps in the panels for eager children to poke their heads through the fence, too. It was covered in weeds and other plant life that had crept up the sides of the fence over many years of trying. At one time, they had been cut back to keep the fence clean and sturdy, but no more.
The forest floor was covered in small branches and twigs that had been hurtled to the ground by the wind. Some of them were arranged in piles that might have once been used as fires or shelters, but no more.
A rabbit emerged from behind one of the trees. It moved slowly, as though anticipating some sudden movement from nearby, then stopped, its ears twitching as it listened out for signs of other animals. The wind blew between the trees and rocked some of the twigs on the ground back and forth, but nothing else made a sound. At one time, there had been laughter and footsteps and conversation, but no more.
It might have wondered to itself, if rabbits can wonder, what had happened to the children who used to run up and down the path, shouting and playing. It might have even remembered them. They had loved the forest back then, but no more.
People had tried to tame the forest, but in more recent years nature had been allowed to go wild. The rabbit listened to the sounds of nature, to the wind and the leaves and the twigs, and noticed that there was nothing to disturb it. It could not hear the tell-tale footfalls of a fox or the approach of anything else besides. No humans and no other animals. The forest had once been full of life, but no more.
Had it been the humans? Had they done something that had reduced the animal population – and their own? Had they simply become bored with the forest and the beauty of the natural world? There were no answers, not anymore.
The rabbit hopped on, disappearing behind the next tree. The wind continued to blow.