During the time that my husband and I built and lived in a modern housing - tract - estate, I felt that something was missing. I needed the restorative effects of a forest to feed the inner me. To balance the visual effects of row upon row of black roofed "show homes", with healthy doses of uninhabited (by man) wilderness.
Somehow, I needed the security that a forest gave me.
Why is this I wonder? Does a forest cocoon oneself? Does it call back to the very primal self lying deep within, forgotten and clothed by centuries of civilisation?
Is a forest a real and metaphorical place to lose oneself?
When I was young, I would bury my nose in my big book of fairy tales. I lost myself in the illustrations - especially those of the forests. To me, they weren't dark, spooky, foreboding places of dread. They were places of refuge.
As a wee child, I felt exposed and vulnerable. Life was violent and lonely. I longed to find a real forest. To disappear into. To hide.
For a child in suburbia, that was not possible. But, I could do it in my mind.
I created a forest where I could dwell safely, hidden from fear and danger. This was my place of retreat when I had no other escape.
Life often comes full circle. And wishes can come true.
Today, I walk through the undergrowth of the forest. Taking care where I tread. Microcosms of life abound here.
Minute communities go about their lives unseen, unheard. Those who take time to pause and see, really see, will be rewarded with glimpses into the essential roles being played in the ecosystem.
Creatures of the bush hide. Avoiding detection. Waiting. Many are nocturnal and in the evening, if I'm quiet and still, I'll catch a glimpse of a forest dweller. Comfortable under the cloak of darkness. Feeling safe among the silent sentinels of the forest.
I know how they feel.