A calling from the trees

The edge of the woods

If you go back there, maybe you will see it. I haven’t been back for thirty four years. I expect my house will be rotting now; shutters hanging off the windows, door banging open and shut in the wind. Perhaps the clematis that once grew behind will have twisted into cracks, inched over the roof, sneaked in through broken glass windows. I remember the log cabin in the forest so clearly. The front door was a stable door; it opened directly into the main room with a huge wooden table, stone sink under a big window and range to the side. My bedroom was through a door to the right. The bed was comfy and the room was light and airy. My home was always warm, the range kept burning with logs I chopped myself. All the food that I ate, I prepared myself from what I could grow in my garden to the side. I carved wooden bowls which I took when I walked to the market, and here I exchanged them for money or goods. I clearly remember the day I exchanged the large fruit bowl I had made for a lovely new soup pan. The sun was shining, and all seemed good with the world.

But things were changing. I had to move on. I don’t remember the last time I left the forest, walked out of my home locking the door with a final click (of course, I kept the lock well oiled). I barely remember my last day at Primary School, but at the age of eleven I left the school and the life I had built for myself in the corner of the playground, imaginary log by imaginary log. I left my garden, seeds planted for the next harvest, I probably left a half carved bowl on the table and I left a part of me with it, standing between the blue council railings and the falling down fence of someone else’s house.

Did my drive to buy the wood come from my imagination as a child? Or did my imagination as a child come from being destined to buy the wood? However it happened, throughout my life, trees have tapped at my consciousness. They are entities and personalities and collectively they provide a space which I find exciting, inspiring, mysterious, calming and (mostly) brimming with life and vitality. I have been surrounded by trees in conifer plantations, in deciduous woodland, high on mountain ranges at the limit of the trees range, deep in secluded valleys, in rainforest, in the arctic circle, each place with a different atmosphere. But always there is an excitement, a whisper of anticipation, a calling from the trees.

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