The Woods and What They Say

Those woods contained stories, some accurate, some inaccurate.

Growing up, I lived in a small city just on the outskirts of a slightly larger city. I didn’t have the classic idyllic childhood of a neighborhood full of kids, all outside all the time, ready to play. What I did have was a wooded park a few streets away containing boardwalks and paths to guide a traveler through the trees. That path was even connected to the local elementary school’s playground and classes took mini field trips through those woods, discussing the flora and fauna found within.

Those woods contained stories, some accurate, some inaccurate. One false tale was that there was a battle between Native American tribes atop a hill found in those woods. No evidence for such a battle exists, but the story was so pervasive in the mythos of the local community that the elementary school connected there was named after it.

A separate, true story was that there was a highway that was supposed to cut through that forested land. Before anything was cut down, the community rose up against the destruction of the trees and the highway was built to carve around the woods instead of cutting through where they once were.

There also were far more personal stories about those woods. When I visited my parents recently, we took a walk along the boardwalk with my parents’ dog. A few children asked to pet her, and since the dog loves kids, we obliged. When it was time to part, she was clearly upset to leave the children. It took a lot of convincing to get her to walk away. The sweet way she interacted with those kids and her clear adoration of them was heartwarming to see.

Growing up in such close proximity to that sort of greenery is a privilege that undoubtably helped to foster in me a love for forests and hiking. When I set foot in those woods, there is no question of belonging. They are, in many ways, where I am from, the place that played a part in making me who I am today. And when I think back to that place, I think of all the stories that also made me who I am today.

Tales of greenery
of love and life and conflict
show us who we are.

Image by smellypumpy from Pixabay

6 thoughts on “The Woods and What They Say”

  1. i like our city
    too many lds
    but i confess
    to wander
    and roam
    in city parks
    as larks
    to read
    and peak
    at ladies
    most lovely
    the country
    is for birds
    i went camping
    one week
    smith morehouse
    that s enuff for my lifetime

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is wonderful writing, Joy. I grew up on a farm so I had access to acres and acres of trees. Now, living alone in a small town, I yearn for country life again. I miss the still silence of junipers and pinyon pines and scrub oak. Nearby mountains offer various conifers, aspens and cottonwoods (which are ablaze in autumn hues this time of year). Like you, my identity revolves around trees and wild places. Thanks for this. šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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