So, I’m kinda trapped in a trap here.
Not the one you’ve intentionally laid for me with your tricksy point system, but a simple semantic pothole. Anything I can tell you about wouldn’t be a surprise. How could it? I’m telling you about it, so I must know it’s coming.
So I’m thinking of heading to the woods (I’m not, my actual plan for today is to go to work, which is full of mashed and pulped wood at least, and then pretending to be Jesus in a photo shoot, so my plan for the day is straightforward business and blasphemy, outside of the woodlands).
I went to the woods recently. Quite a few times. I can tell you to expect to be surprised by how tall the trees are (this almost always happens to me), the number of people there (actually, being a weekday, today it’s probably the lack of people) and the random patchiness of bluebells, which seem to swarm and torrent across some scraps of land, and be completely absent from others.
I’d spend my time balancing on fallen birch and looking for angles through which you can see slightly more trees lined up in the slightly more distance. I love fallen trees with root structures that look like Celtic medallions bred with ancient sea monsters.
I hate the bloody traffic noise, that seems to hum wherever you are. I probably need to find bigger forests, but they are further away.
There’s rubbish that you feel obligated to pick up. There’s occasionally an irresistibly stout stick for pretending you are some kind of roaming adventurer or nomad who clearly needs an impressive wizened staff. (Last time I wore that, despite the presence of my floaty hippy minidress plus even floatier skirt outfit, I still appeared to challenge the masculinity of a random wandering group of ‘lads’ who immediately started competing with me about the size, shape and stoutness of their own hastily grabbed staves….I just pointed out that one of them was holding his upside down and moved on.
There were carvings on trees, impromptu and random. There was that lovely dappled light and the perpetual need to shift layers around to avoid warmth or cold. There was fresh air and rustling and the skittering of birds and squirrels half out of sight.
Of course, it’s the song that I like best. The chittering chirrups and squawks and melodies pulsing around you, totally oblivious to you and yet begging your heart to join in.
And mostly in the woods I find an open space to take friends. Somewhere you can be silent for a long comfortable stretch. Feel united with someone in peacefulness. Somewhere secrets and truths can start to emerge at their own pace. A space where talking loses it’s urgency and excitement in favour of honesty and spaciousness.
But none of it will be a surprise. At least, nothing I’ve mentioned here.
But that doesn’t mean their won’t be.
Go take a look yourself.
Illustration by Andy.