If you go down to the woods today...
You are not likely to encounter any stuffed toys sipping tea and eating sandwiches (that would be somewhat unnerving, don't you think?) but you may very well bump into me (hopefully less unnerving).
When the world begins to feel a touch too loud and the mind and heart begin to race, that is my cue. It is time to take to the trees.
Not just any trees though. This land to which I was born is beautiful in so many ways but her native gums can be a little harsh, sometimes even ghoulish, and they have always made me feel more than a little ill at ease.
No, give me the oaks and the pines, the maples and the birch trees, any day, always. Forever. Soft and strong, tall and comforting, standing atop a tumbling sea of ivy.
A canopy of green overhead and the soft, sweet earth below. Bright sunlight becomes dappled with the soft beams of gold falling here and there, creating an ever-shifting pattern as the breeze blows and rattles the branches above. The sounds of the outside world fade away, leaving only the birdsong and me. Short breaths becoming slower, quieter, easier with every step I take, delving deeper. I stand as still as can be, staring out to find myself completely encapsulated by nature and no sign at all of a world beyond my sight, outside of these trees.
The forest floor is alight this time of year, with the crackle and crunch of autumn leaves underfoot, looking for all the world like an endless bed of hot coals to be traversed in order to test one's strength or courage or faith. Faith, I have. In these trees, in the "lovely, dark and deep" and the forgiving quietude within. It is Sunday and I am on my knees, hands clasped together, eyes closed, head bowed. This is my sanctuary.