I went to the woods today.
I went despite the long list of shoulds tacked to my fridge. I went despite a toddler who in no way desired to be wrestled into a car seat.
I went despite myself.
I needed to go to the woods.
I wanted the wind whipping around my face and disheveling my hair. I wanted a film of dirt coating my shiny black capris. I wanted a company of commanding evergreens leaning over me like a majestic canopy. Shielding my skin from the dense heat; protecting my heart from deep pangs of grief; closing out the useless chatter and negativity that run rampant through my mind.
When my feet hit the path I started to run. I had no intention of running. But the path was empty. And the branches waved me onward, their boughs beckoning me to keep moving forward. Over here! they cried. We have so much more for you!
I wasn’t sure where I would end up, but I knew I couldn’t get there fast enough.
It was only twenty minutes before my little passenger realized he was missing out on all the fun. As he scrambled out of the confines of the stroller, his eyes widened and we beamed wildly at each other.
We were here to explore. We were here to have an adventure.
The narrow path wound through a meadow and I drank in the sanctuary of stillness like a cool glass of water. In stark contrast, my son bulldozed his way into the bushes, swung branches round that were twice his size, and altogether delighted in a haven so completely untouched. He marveled in each sprightly shoot of grass, tried to look up-up-up past the mighty pines, and unabashedly grinned as he plopped himself down into the dirt.
I am all for imposing playgrounds and screeching water parks and the tinny melodies that emit from our stacks of colorful toys. They all have their established place in our day to day.
But there’s something about the woods isn’t there? I had forgotten all about it.
I had forgotten the magic.
As I settled my content, exhausted babe into the vehicle, I took note of my makeup streaked with sweat, the chunks of hair escaping from my sorry excuse for a ponytail, and the dirt running down my pant legs.
I grinned, thinking I hadn’t felt this pretty for quite some time.
* * *
We’ll be back soon old friend.