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.
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.