when i was a little girl i loved to explore and hide in the woods surrounding our housing plan. the journey to them began with making my way down the tar-bubbled roads until reaching freshly tilled fields. these were a tricky exercise each time as they required trying to find a balancing rhythm atop the deep grooves with my sneaker-shod feet. there were narrow creeks to cross through leading to the bold sense of bravery swelling as the icy water ballooned through my shoe seams. and finally, the magical entrance into the tangle that was soothing and haunting.
after hitting empty logs with sticks to remove rotting bark. or standing as long as i could with my head fully tilted back to try to unlock the sensation of light splattering through giant trees. it would be time to play my favorite part of this game i engaged in with my solitary self playmate. i would find a spot to hover and be tucked in at the needle-blanketed base of a pine to imagine if i could stay forever. i would move through the points in my mind of how i could subsist and be sheltered. as i grew a bit older, the narratives would come to include wondering if i would be missed and for how long. i was quite intoxicated by the distilled sense of being isolated, a lulling sense produced by twigs cracking, birds calling and the breeze that made the leaves brush against themselves.
my girls are not me. i am aware that they each have a girl inside them that will find a secluded spot in childhood they will return to that i’ll likely never know until they are grown. sometimes i think i catch them in the act of being lost with their lonely playmate selves. it reminds me that my role to care and give means also protecting that those adventures can be made. i can watch closely, i can intercede if it seems their woods are luring them too far away.
today i have come to visit some woods near my home. this time i am sitting in a clearing and listening to count the bird calls. i am watching the bugs working among some stonework around me. there are grasses and weeds struggling to take over the planned nature along this path. my present joy is to sit and admire that which is not a woman, that which has no drive to analyze intentions. it simply does. i don’t truly fit here and can’t stay, but it is soothing to pretend.