Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Woods

When I was young I lived in the woods. I would walk for hours through the trees, walking the paths the animals made, the paths no humans knew about. Dodging bracken and brushing tough fir bark as I mapped every last path in that wood. I knew that wood better than any other creature to have lived.

One day whilst walking one of those paths untrodden by man, without a sound a herd of deer leapt past me without a care. In a wood where hunters shot with impunity I had been honoured by the animals of the forest. It was one of those enlightening moments of epiphany, that the world was much more beautiful than I previously could have envisaged. So on a track, now I realised, that hunters only trod when they searched for sport, I had been witness and receiver of a lesson not so profound, but profoudly beautiful.

The last time I visited the forest I found that the trees had been cleared. The natural cycle of man and tree had been refreshed and the paths were now gone and the character flown. And I was sad for the world that was lost, at unease for the deer that had frolicked in its embrace all those years before. But I realised that this world was an illusion. I'd always known it was an illusion. No more real than the field of corn ripe for the harvest. And I rejoice in the change despite the sadness of the passing. I look forward to the new woods. The new paths to be trodden by a boy who will be young when I am old.

The woods are a condition. The future will harvest and renew as it will. I will walk the new paths with the same fervour and bewilderment that enchanted me all those years ago.

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