I walk in the woods and forests in my area regularly. I’m always struck by the different atmosphere in them depending on the weather, the season, and the varieties of trees. They also contain pockets of strangeness. All is friendly and light at first, and suddenly you walk into a watchful area, where footfalls are muffled, and you hold your breath a little. Then there are the parts which radiate a magical luminescence and anything could happen – anything could step from behind that tree.
This is why so many fantasy stories and fairy tales are set in woodlands. People can disappear in them. Time stretches under their canopy of leaves, bends through the thick shrubs, and creeps through the fecund humus. Forests teem with life, and are afire with numinous potential.
Of course, we always mapping our own feelings and attitudes onto our environment, so sometimes it’s just an externalisation of how we are feeling. Often the trees are benign, but it is us who are mercurial.
Still, walking in the woods is guaranteed to inspire me, and often uplifts me, especially on a glorious Spring evening when the light gilds the tree trunks.
Everywhere green leaves burst from buds or spear up through the tangle of winter’s sheddings.
Finally, the blossoms are appearing. Soon the trees will sag under their beauty. When the branches sway in the wind their confetti sigh will bless the teeming earth.