The Forest : An Autobiography

A homage to all of those who struggle with past trauma and wish to be free of the internal pain and shame that has weaved itself to our bones. My only way forward sometimes is to think that I am not alone and that there are others walking the world who sometimes struggle as I do. May we all find peace. May we all find happiness. May we know that no feeling, not even the most painful, can last.

Forest: An Autobiography

I Wall

There was a girl.  She had long hair and liked to dance.

She lived by herself in the forest which is an odd place for a little girl to live.  She entered the forest early when her friends were playing in the garden safely secured from outside by a wall.

Living in the forest was comfortable.  Some would say she was lost but she didn’t feel lost.  You can only be lost if you have somewhere to go and she didn’t need to go anywhere in particular so long as she was going. She took paths at random. Sometimes she would go nowhere at all and stand under a huge tree. 

She didn’t meet many people.  When she did they told her that she should return to the safe garden secured from outside by a wall.  Eventually she agreed. But the garden behind the wall, only had one or two trees.  It saddened her to hear their voices in the wind.  She longed to be surrounded by that whispering.

Behind the wall it was nice at first.  Warm and cosy.  It seemed like it should be safe.  She knew she would get breakfast.  She knew where she was going each day.  Her paths where chosen for her:  going to the bathroom, going to the kitchen, the lounge and the garden.  She learned how to expect and how to please and the silence stopped happening.  Then the trees were chopped down and it was a very sad place to be.

She had to stay behind the wall until she was all grown up.  There was no other way out.

II Bark

There was a girl with blonde hair.  She was from the forest.

The little girl met two people:  a man and a woman.

The man loved the little girl but hated the forest with its secrets and its many different ways.  He hated it because he longed to know the forest but was afraid.  The trees whisperings were peaceful but their sounds could tell you the  real source of joy and your darkest fear.  The man knew this.  He also knew that no matter how many times he ran away from the forest, it still existed, growing, being, surrounding.

The woman was too busy hiding behind walls, buildings and structures to want to walk with him.  So the girl was called to accompany him.  She only knew her way and although she tried to tell the man this he still tried to enter the forest through her.  Of course he could not and the more he tried the more the girl withdrew deeper and deeper – hiding – until she slipped behind a tree leaving her body while her soul took refuge deep beneath the bark. 

Stale air and a stifling silence fell broken only by the sudden roar of wind trying to escape her lips. Her body now lived in corridors made of black tiles and pierced mirrors splitting head from neck. Her body, without protection, got torn and pierced by passing people. 

III Roots

There was a girl who grew up to be a woman.  It was a surprise to her because she thought that if she tried hard enough no one would notice her and she could stay a little girl forever.  Then she would not have to look beyond the forest. She could pretend not to know. 

Once the little girl accepted that she was a woman she tried to live a woman’s life.  She began walking through the forest with opening eyes staring at the river that had stopped flowing and noticing the forest growing smaller and smaller.

She said goodbye to the man and the woman and left them waiting for her to come back.  She did not return. 

She wept a lot.  She cried hot tears and they pierced deep into the little girls heart cracking the bark and revealing the emptiness that had become the shell of her voice.  The wind sometimes broke from her lips and the trees whispered their reply.

The woman walks the world.   She loves. Deeply.  She breaks.  Easily.

She is learning that roots do run deep, branches don’t reach the sky.  This is just a brief movement in the leaves.

First written in 1996.

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