The Forest Books – “The woods are lovely, dark and deep”*

I’m not sure if I’m walking away from my past or toward my future.

Quote from the diary of Alan Christoffersen from book 2 of the series “The Walk” by Richard Paul Evans

It has happened to me before. I’ve talked about it here, on this blog.

What is it?

Let me explain.

Somehow, I get pulled into a subject and accidentally (on purpose?) buy books (sometimes movies, but usually books) that (whether I realized it at the time or not) covered a specific subject or occurred in the same place. Take (for example – and clearly this is Parenthesis Day!) during the end of my first marriage, when I bought several books about death. I talked about it here, if you’re interested >>> The post where it happened.

So, over the last year or so, I have inadvertently (and also on purpose) been reading books that take place in the forest.

There was A Walk in the Woods, then Wild, and the book I said every woman should read (I hope you have!) called Diana, Herself. All of these books were about people (men & women) and forests.

In the back of my mind, I remembered a series of books I’d read from the library several years ago. I couldn’t remember the names of all of them but it seemed like one was named simply… The Walk. I also remembered that the author had a three-word name. I went in search and found him – and the books – online. Here is The Walk Series by Richard Paul Evans. I picked up the first three and ordered the two I hadn’t yet read (because they’d not been written yet) which are due in my mailbox soon.

The Walk is not the subject of this post but it is a catalyst, which is why I’ve shared the quote above and a photo of the first three books. I’m reading Book 2 right now!

I could easily have called this one of my “Fiction as Self-Help” posts but that’s also not even the point. Especially since 2 of the books I mentioned above (A Walk in the Woods and Wild) are true stories.

No, there’s something else at play here.

It’s the forests.

I have always been a water person, as you know. But I have always also loved forests… and camping, which my sister and I did every summer with my grandparents. When I think of it, I can still smell the campfires and pine… Noxema (from the sunburns I’d *always* get) and fish frying (my grandfather was an avid fisherman!).

My parents also rented a tent trailer and took us up through California (through and beyond The Redwoods) one summer when I was around ten. I remember one particularly spectacular spot that might have been in a campground but I’m not sure, to be honest. What I do know is that there was a rushing river and a long trail upwards to an outhouse. Aside from the rustic bathroom, it was the best of both worlds, I thought… pine and water.

Anyway, Evan’s books are yet another in my own personal series of what I’m calling The Forest Books.

What IS it about a canopy of trees, pine needles as carpet beneath your feet and the sounds of birds and a distant waterfall? Magical, truly.

But these stories, ALL OF THEM, are *about* something else, too. Each of the books I mentioned above speak of journeys (physical and emotional), relying on self (and God, whether acknowledged or not) to get safely from here to there… and also… a reckoning.

So, why was I led to these books?

I don’t know. But for a woman who assigns meaning to everything… there must be a reason.

So, this is what I’m thinking about as I read. What *is it* about these books and forests?

I think it may have something to do with the quote I shared – the one about walking away from something and to another thing. The forest seems to be a place to … find out … what we need to do and where we need to go.

Also, and this just came to me, it feels like the forest is another entity – another personality. Reminds me of my fave author Louise Penny and her books set in Three Pines – a fictional town in Quebec, which is a character in the books in its own right. Here’s a neat video about finding the perfect setting for it in a made-for-TV movie based on the first book in The Three Pines series:

Oh, you guys… I guess I’m just waxing poetic now…

I just have this crazy desire to run barefoot in a forest and get in touch with the earth. Oh, oh, oh! Kind of like what I talked about in this post about Earthing! See!!! Another one!

Yep, this means something. If I can figure it out, I’ll let you know. If not, nevermind. <<<haha! As if!

* The quote in the title is taken from this poem by Robert Frost –

Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” Copyright 1923

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

6 comments

  1. I can remember this poem from grammar school, but I can’t remember where I parked the car. Seriously though, literature is really a gift both ways. It is an honor to receive it, and a talent to deliver it.

    Liked by 1 person

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