Thursday, 14 March 2013

the forest

Could I perhaps come to know the forest as a place of redemption, the site of possible rebirth, so that instead of longing to find a way forth, I find myself re awakened in amongst the trees, the darkness giving way to an inner light, so that I long to stay, and enjoy the whisper of foliage overhead, the possibility of catching sight of a reticent hind, the flash of a jay's brilliant blue wing?

Certainly the endless cycle of birth and death is evident all around, the fallen tree yielding up stored nutrient to a host of miniscule life, the tender sapling springing from a cleared glade. May I not perish here, but instead becomed renewed, healed of my psychic disarray? May I indeed find myself, and become not as one lost?

Or should I hold fast to the dark forest as a symbol of despair and loss, the emergence from which heralds a return to the world of hope and lightness of mind? It is a powerful symbol, that of a tractless expanse of trees growing so closely together that light is obliterated and day and night become as one, the "straight foreward pathway" hidden in the gloom.

Perhaps I should have charted my progress by means of marking the trees in some way, tying a bright ribbon to a bough, carving an arrow in the bark of a trunk. However the way lies not behind, but ever onwards, and one ploughs forth, navigating by  means of a sorely blunted intuition, for the most part one's mind being as dull to stimuli, as the eye is eclipsed by a blindfold.

I should like to make a drawing of  the forest, having a vision in my mind of a regiment of densely foliaged conifers stretching as far as the eye can see, appearing to stand one atop the other, as in a child's drawing, yet I do not know how to begin, and am certain that my skills as a draughtswoman are not equal to the task. It is difficult even to write of the forest; I am aware that my literary gifts are modest in scope, I do not write with ease, my sentences jar and falter where I would they were smoothly flowing. The symbol of the forest as a place of profound crisis has been much better treated by other pens than my own. One must do as one can, improving on one's talents where possible, learning one's limitations, celebrating the ocassional rush of lyricism, the well turned phrase, the sudden insight which illuminates one's text.

I cannot, for the time being, bring myself to take action in terms of drawing; it is beyond my capabilites to pick up a pencil, I am far too subject to dismay, yet I am conscious, with a kind of frantic intensity, of the passing of the days, years in which I have made no drawings. The image of the forest haunts my mind, I tussle with it, visit it frequently during my waking hours, imagine touching pencil to paper, but hold back. How to portray it? How to convey the weight of dark timber, the sense of isolation and remotemess, the dense mass of heavy foliage, the dank airlessness? I am at a loss.

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