On the way home from dropping my daughter off at work I take a special route, stairstepping my way through a rural-ish area of the township where I live. Following the ninety-degree bends of roads that once edged neat farm fields, and, in some places still do, I’m following a strand of my soul toward the place where it has, unaccountably, anchored.
About half way through this brief trip I swing left onto a road (I can never remember it’s name) that is, at most, 2 miles long. Immediately my breathing slows down, I begin to smile, and my shoulders detach themselves from my ears. (Scapula earrings anyone?)
I’m looking at a tiny woodland. Surrounded by meadows, farm fields, and backyards, no more than two acres wide, it straddles the road, tree branches entwining in a soaring gothic arch that would make a middle ages master builder weep.
Esme, my tiny car, has slowed in tandem with my breathing and heart rate. I roll softly under the first branches and tears prick my eyes.
I don’t understand why, but this tiny wood embraces me and I know – I KNOW – I am home. Utterly home.
I also know that I don’t need my head to understand this. I’m meant to trust it. To be infused with it. To feel my roots twining with the beech, oak, ash and other tree-kin in this place. I’m meant to trust my heart.
It’s a narrow road and there’s nowhere to stop but in the road itself. So I do. I roll the windows down (in all weather and temperature) and turn Esme off. Scents and sounds settle around me, sinking into my muscles, untangling knots and teasing tension out of tightly held joints. I’m smiling deeply, sometimes the pricking tears stream over the dimples I’ve had my whole life when smiling unabashedly.
This wood is magical. Magic of the oldest, deepest sort. It has palpable presence. It knows its magic, its essentialness.
Interestingly, it’s not an old wood. Sadly, not many in this part of Pennsylvania are. The oldest trees are, maybe 50 – 75 years old. But, it carries all the ancient presence and wisdom of a place that remembers it’s timelessness. And, in that, I can sense one of the reasons I revel in this tiny patch of Place.
This wood and I both remember our timelessness. We recognize each other as kindred souls. We find ourselves – our center – simply being in quiet presence with each other. Like the easy silences that happen between dear friends. Which, of course, we are.
Most days I sit for a few minutes, breathing with the trees, drinking in birdsong or windspeak. Smiling, smiling, smiling, being utterly in love and at home. Some days other cars prevent my stopping and I drive irritatingly slowly, drinking in what I can, feeling my body and soul responding to this oh-so-special Place.
Is there a particular message in this story? I don’t think so. I just know my heart wanted to gift it to you, so I trusted that.
I know at times beauty is simply beauty and we don’t need to understand why a Place makes us smile, brings us ease, reminds us of our timelessness. We just need to revel in it, and trust that our soul nudged us here for a reason.
Tracie and the wood