I love the woods. I love trees. I love the smell of moss. There’s nothing quite like standing in the middle of a forest and experiencing that deep woodsy scent. It’s all earth, and dirt, and wet, and a bit of mold. But there is also pine and sap and an almost sweet quality to the air. I love buying rosemary because the scent is like a pine tree: rich with a hint of an almost lemon quality.
It makes sense that I love forests and trees since I grew up in the Evergreen State of Washington. Trees have been familiar to me from the very beginning of my existence. My family went camping and boating all summer, and skiing all winter. My sister and I lived outdoors as much as possible. Our backyard as children contained pine trees, and when the needles would fall I would make a bed for our dog or seats for my dolls. I’ve lived around forests (of one kind or another, in many places) and they truly do make me happy.
There are a lot of poems about forests, and soul searching, the most famous of course, written by Robert Frost. We all know the line ‘two roads diverged in a wood and I/ I took the one less traveled by/ and that has made all the difference’ but the poem in it’s entirety is incredibly beautiful.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
There’s lots of meaning in there, deep and light, soul searching and surface. To chop it up into just the little snippet that is so frequently used is to do injustice to Robert Frost’s brilliance.
There is something magical about forests and trees, something peaceful but also something very dark. Secrets surely exist and are buried in the forest, contemplation and thoughts of all kinds have been left to trees by people needing a bit of comfort or advice.
Thoreau was on to something there I think. Spending time alone, like the trees are alone in the forest, can also make a person happy. Hiking in solace, and quiet, where your mind can think and breathe and be. You sometimes come across the light.
The light is warmth and kindness and acceptance, daring as it were to infiltrate the dark and moody trees. The landscape changed by the little rays of sun, a talisman in the dark.
The forest comes alive, and maybe we were never alone to begin with. Maybe the trees were talking to us all along. They were there, just waiting, and listening.
What inspires you today? What do you have to say to the trees?