An impression of the woods
There is nothing exhilarating about the woods, but there is definitely something about the woods. Otherwise they would not evoke such powerful feelings. Powerful yet soothing. That is the very first impression. An invisible aura protects the woods from hastiness, for silent bewilderment is the most eloquent speech one can possibly produce when sighting that tangling alloy of green darkness and uncanny rawness. What it is exactly, however, I cannot put my finger on. I am most dismayed with my difficulty to express it. One should be able to name this feeling. Or at least so would one suppose, for it is as stark as any commonplace feeling like love, hate, fear or desire.
Unwittingly I find myself wondering what mysteries might be concealed by the overwhelmingly dense cluster of trees. This took me slightly aback, as I regained full possession of my consciousness: I had never been much of a curious person. Not to mention that such an uneasy and inquisitive spirit should have assailed me in my green days, not in a stage of mental regression.
I sigh, and wonder why. I have no memories involving woods, yet now I feel like I should have. Everything in the scenario strikes a nostalgic chord, though I have never been much acquainted to the woods.
I take a careful look at what lies before my eyes. This petty excuse for wilderness, without ostentatious hostility, still manages to have an effect I cannot account for. Sticks may make me stumble, moist may make me slip; apart from that, it is as walkable as a paved street. If there is anything that provokes sheer discomfort it is the scent. Its freshness, its pungent vigour invades the nostrils. It is unavoidable. Trying to draw a breath without smelling it is just as feasible as keeping one’s eyes closed during a sneeze. It is a fragrance that embodies the brutal force of Nature. Some may find it heavenly; I, for one, am as intimidated by it as a victim of a tragic shipwreck might be by the hurling sound of waves. Which is, again, quite baffling, for aforementioned reasons: the story of my life never, not once, as far as I can recall, has the woods as backdrop.
As I look up I spot birds lurking through the branches. I profoundly begrudge the birds' sweet melodies; they seem to be keen on luring me to some hidden depth, or a natural trap of the sort. I distrust those mischievous, mellow-voiced little creatures for reasons that, I am afraid, are well beyond my rational reach. Despicable as their hypocrisy might be to me, I do grant this much: they outsound the voice inside my head, which, I must admit, is quite pleasant.
I step forward, and the trees step forward as well, in order to meet me. Should I step aside, all the trees would indulge me with a sinister dance, in which they rearrange their positions in quite a bizarre fashion, but seemingly very throughoutly planned. A chaotic choreography, barbaric in its attempt to be orderly. Nevertheless, this asymmetry is frighteningly hypnotic. It takes me a couple of seconds to be able to look away. But then again, in what can I rest my eyes on? Besides trees, that is? Heaven’s floor, and Hell’s roof. And nothing more.
A chilling gust impels me to leave. I pull both sides of my worn-out coat to the middle of my chest, lower my head, as if fighting my way through the wind, and tread my way back. There is a noise synchronised with the rhythm of my paces. I halt suddenly. Silence. I resume my steps, and so does the noise. I look down. The dirt beneath my shoes makes a squashy sound. Even though I intended only to observe the woods, as distantly and therefore accurately as possible, I proved myself to be a sorry performer of such task. The woods make an impression; be it pleasant or appalling, it is always striking. In order to see the woods one must enter them. And whoever comes out from the woods is not the same person who went in.
As my mind wanders so does my own self, and my steps have now all of Nature’s own rawness. Today I will not return home alone. Today I bring the woods with me.