It’s funny when you first enter the forest. It really is going from one world straight to another. There is no border control or is there? I typed” id” instead of “is” at first. I said there is no border control or id there? It does feel like you drop your ego. But it is id country.What does it matter what you are” outside”? It holds no sway here. Leave it at the edge of the forest. I feel like all is left there, as though I have left everything I was and am known for. I am stripped bare. I now have nothing which is somehow so moreish.
It is strange at first, the initial minutes of transition. We think we own, we know, the world but somehow when we enter a forest, we twig at a deep level that we are on “other” territory. There is something so cocksure, so knowing, so solid about trees. It is the world of the indigenous first and you know that different rules apply here.
On first walking I could not separate the me from the one outside on the road. Was I welcome here? I asked the Spirit of Place which is unseen yet tangible, not any particular tree to approach. It seems a pervasive presence. That it is everywhere and nowhere, close by and far away. *Will you accept me?” The response “Will you respect me?” Step further in and see if your energy is welcome. You will know. You will feel hesitant or fearful or want to just be on the edge, near the road.
A big gnarled tree drew me and my heart and feet lightened. It seemed familiar like a harmless old resident, the one who always makes you feel welcome. I looked him over although it was probably he doing the scanning I felt at home. Relax, and enjoy the sights. Feast your eyes but do not take anything except images. Pictures I asked? That is acceptable because we take imprints of you. Imprints? Yes, impressions. You take pictures and we will own you, own your yearning. You will come back, never having left. We own your desire.
Accepted and bold, I walked with a lighter step, eager as a young child. Everything seemed new as though I had not seen before. Everything was shapely but not jarringly so, so different to a walk in the city. Every tree was the same but different, the same colour but different, see one, see them all, but no. They draw you, you know. They flirt with you, they draw you in. Come here, look at me, one says and you approach and feel the bark. Look, I have a hole which could be a home or just a hole, stand on tip toe, have a look. No need to stand on ceremony here. I do not get lots of visitors so stay awhile. Look at me from another angle, go round to my right, my left, back a bit, right a bit, look at my markings. Can you see faces, words, maps, stories etched in my bark, of other visitors?
You want to search higher. Stand on my roots. It doesn’t hurt me and I can look at you, and feel your energy, process you. You have wood in your abode, oak, rosewood, not looking quite themselves though. Don’t step down, stay awhile. Run your fingers over my bark, lean your brow against me and rest. Let me track your journey, what led you here.
We can call you, you know. We can fill your dreams with green and bark folk, with fae and leaf sway and reach out below ground through root and mould, trace you, track you and bring you here. We can bind your energy to us and make your heart floral and faunicate with you, call you, like sap in your veins.
I could stay here forever, I have no place I want to be. I am me here, or am I? It’s hard to tell if I haven’t always been here. Did I dream I was outside of here, of a life separate to the wood? Have I always been tree with a daydream whilst growing? Is it that I extended my roots and brought back stories and thought I was there? Was it all in my roots?
Jolt. Oh I must go soon , it all looks so different. Will I find my way out? The paths all look the same , I had shapes in my head, I took note of them to retrace my steps, but somehow… .they all blended or moved. Or was that me who morphed?
Was that a rustle to my left or was it right? What is right and what is left in this unmarked place, in this space between everything? I really must go but oh I hear rustling. What was that? So I stand as they do. Don’t turn your head. Just stand. Expand. My ear sense extends. I see with eyes I did not know I had, catch peripheral glimpses of light. My sweep tells me all is as is. No threat. Just blend, disappear, merge and be mossful.
Now I must really leave. I must be on the outside back to what I left there if only I could find the path that I set. Stop thinking and sense. My eyes knew more than they showed me. The roots bade me move and my trusting feet followed something, somehow, without seeing well and ended up at the very edge, that betwixt bit with no border control and rejoined my outer self. A breeze stirred so slightly. I fell for it and paused, glanced back and leaf mould danced in circlets, flirting with my feet. The trees swayed and whispered see you anon and on and on and on. Next visit go deeper. We’re rooting for you. Some go so deep that there’s no turning back.