You pause, considering your options within the wood. To turn back seems premature and unnecessary and you would much prefer, and welcome, discovering a way to circle round without retracing your own steps.

To successfully find your own way would someway convey to you a sense of victory and affirm your belonging here, lost inside this forest without a map or compass, without a signpost or a man made path. Yep, for sure, you would delight in finding your own way.

Confident in your connection, feeling welcome inside this woodland, you continue comfortably, outwardly conveying the satisfied air of someone who knows instinctively their route and destination, certain your sense of direction will somehow guide you full circle to the open field and your camper van parked beyond.

You listen, and for a fleeting moment wish you had someone to share the silence with. There’s no road nearby, no plane overhead, no phones, no chatter, no music, or machinery. Only the sway of the branches, the occasional rustle as a smaller mammal scurries for shelter, no doubt in shock and disturbed by the sighting of this Gulliver on her travels.

How could you ever describe this to someone who isn’t here to witness the stillness? How do you say to someone, “oh, the silence, it went like this… … … …”.

How would you ever convey this feeling of tranquility and stillness with a posted picture to Instagram? And when you next see people, you can’t hardly describe this silence, there’ll be background noise, too overwhelming for their senses to imagine. They’ll nod and say they know, but they won’t.

And the very thought of the chaos that continues outside the wood causes you to question how alien people really are. We’re not of this world. Not often anyway.

You stop again, and breathe in, senses flooding with the smell of the forest floor, the moist oxygen these spectacular trees exhale, and all the while breathing in your spent dioxide, dismantling the structures that bind the gasses and releasing in abundance the one you need most to live.

Eyes close, and with all the thanks and gratitude you can muster you breathe in and fill your body with deep trust, then breathe out, letting go of your concerns…

And as you focus your breathing, a poem slowly begins to take root in your fertile mind, half remembered from heaven knows when, and you sense the shoots of creativity branching upward and outward, forming a vision:

Walking ancient paths, where hidden mysteries lay,
Beneath my feet, a choir of songbirds sang
In wild woods, scrunching underfoot
Twisting paths that zigzag taller trees
Giants guarding over me, while
Stepping on the bones of their past,
Sweet smells turn oranges to red
Skyward greens bleed blue
Light hanging in the branches
A roof to my Abbey
Nature stains the glass
Sheltering the emerald
Flowers dapple, carpet green
Spider webs shimmer silver silk
Whispering secrets
I walk ancient paths
A fox hiding in the shadows

Songbirds calling from afar
A trickling stream,
Leaves crumpling underfoot
Dappled shade, Precambrian pillow-lava
Rich as the Temagami Greenstone
Of faraway Ontario