When I was growing up there was a park down the street. My sister and I would ride our bikes there so we could play on the playground. One day we found a trail in the forest behind the baseball field and decided to explore.
The path started at the far end of the field and almost immediately dropped down. A few steps in we were transported into a magical world, the park behind us completely gone from view.
My heart raced with excitement as we moved forward, slowly, taking it all in. The trees filtered the sun in such a way that I felt drawn to the spots where the light was cast. At the bottom of the hill the trail split. Straight ahead was a small stream with a makeshift footbridge, leading up the hill on the other side. To the left the path followed the stream and then turned out of sight.
The air was cool and slightly damp. On the wet shore of the water there was moss, rocks and leaves. Poking them with sticks we found all sorts of fascinating bugs and playful salamanders. Squirrels and chipmunks would scamper up a tree as we approached. At times we might see a deer hiding in the trees or a cat chasing some small animal.
I would spend hours in these woods, pretending I lived here among the animals, free from the judgement of humans. Here I could be anyone; I could be anything. Perhaps I was one of the animals, free to roam wherever I chose, living in a hollow under a big rock just where the path bends. Maybe I was a fairy and these creatures were my friends. Most often I was a girl, one who had run away from her problems to live in the woods. I was ruler of the kingdom like Peter Pan in Neverland or Ralph in Lord of the Flies.
Eventually I would have to leave this secret world and return to the real one. I would once again have to face the kids who tormented me and the responsibilities that were more than a little girl should bear. But I knew I could return; that this magical place would be waiting for me when I needed it.
Now that I’m older the forest is still a refuge for me and I miss it sometimes. Where I live now is beautiful, but lacks the forests you can find in New Hampshire. I wish I were able to share this magic with my girls. I want them to feel awed and inspired by something. I hope they can discover within themselves an ability to create fantasy.
It is this ability to create a vision of something not yet attained, not completely believable, that allows us to achieve impossible goals.
This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Forest