The Forest of My Imagination


Every time I start to write,
it is like going for a walk in the woods.
I get on my jacket and decide to get out among there in the bright sun,
to be shaded by the yellow leaves of a glorious autumn day.
The frost of the new ideas fresh on the ground, gilding the leaves.
Like halos, they glisten, melting in the warming beams of the morning.
A little mist hugs the ground as I walk through the wet leaves that hiss and crunch
The smell of the trees, moss and loam an incense as I walk.

This is what it is like for me to write.
I listen for the woodpeckers rattling against the dead trees looking for bugs
The Bluejays scream and cuss over my head.
An angry squirrel chatters and squeals at me as I disturb its scavenging.
These are the happy accidents.
The wondrous discoveries in my ideas as I walk along the deer-path to my goal.
The little ripples and rills of rocky land that may trip me up from time to time
They’re there too, but again.
They are happy accidents.
Then I find the large trees.
The heart of the story.
That dense thicket deep within the heart of the forest of my ideas.
It towers there, deep and dark and calm.
The wind whistles and sighs in her crown.
Dropping pine cones and leaves of all the sorts of trees that make it up.
Every heart of the forest is different,
For every story is different.
Every time I step out that door, it’s a new forest,
but there are always paths back to the familiar trails I had been too before.


But there I sit, taking in the inspiration of the new ideas.
Getting closer and closer to every tree.
Going to them in turn.
Touching them.
Feeling their rough bark.
Stroking the moss and even busting open the puff balls as their roots.
I put my nose to the bark and rest there for a while considering its meaning.
The idea was here long before I discovered it
It will survive long after.
But no one could have found it but for me.
For I am the only guide into and out of this forest.
That is both the blessing and curse of it all.


For you see,
I am never outside the forest.
Not once.
Not even for a second.
Even though forests layer on top of forests,
Each shifting and jostling the path to and from with some of its own ideas
Shaping those deer trails I use to get there,
The heart remains the same.
That deep heart of the forest.
Where I put my nose to its bark.


You, dear reader,
Dear listener.
Dear wanderer who found the secret entrance to my forest
You have a gift that I envy.
For you have lived without.
You can see my forest from afar.
Maybe you have your own forests, and somehow found my trail in your own woods.
Perhaps you came from great plains,
or deep and sonorous seas,
Do desert dunes sweep across your own creative land of your mind?
Do jungles drip vines in the depths of summer and rain?
You can see my forest from the distant heights of the mountains,
And yet, you saw something there that you chose to experience.
And you came, enjoying the trip to my forest.
Seeing it from without.
A place I can never be.


So welcome, fellow wanderer to my forest.
Know that I envy you with a kind heart.
For while I am forced to commune with my forest
Nose to bark.
And can never see it in its totality from without.
You can, and that is something maybe some day.
When in heaven.
I will be able to enjoy it that way too.
And then I will finally be able to completely understand,
What it is that God hath wrought through me.