I must be part wood elf

I’m becoming rather fond of the amazing woman who keeps inspiring blog posts.

After a twitter conversation and the wonderful scenery in a couple of Chinese movies I am reminded of how much I love forests. The city I live in, the city of my birth calls itself the forest city. Yet for about a hundred and eighty years there has been a war on trees in South Western Ontario. There are very few tiny protected spots that still contain trees from the Northern Carolinian forest that blanketed this area. A forest that provided the first settlements near the forks of the Thames every need and a surplus to trade for luxuries.

We should all know the environmental importance of forests, the basic material benefits to forests existence and protection. Think beyond the material benefits though and remember of discover what I have about forests. They are places to regenerate our mental health, our spirits and charge our soul. I’ve never felt spiritually uplifted in church, in fact I’ve always felt the opposite but in a forest I have. If, as some people believe, it is God’s creation then why bulldoze it for a church?

Forests are not mere collections of trees or a woodlot of homogenous species but a complex organism teaming with life. How can anyone not get recharged in a place teaming with life? Forests are places free from the pollutants of our current society. Places to explore, to have adventures, perhaps a romance or epiphany. They are beautiful places that can feed off us if we aren’t careful or feed us if we join the harmony that sustains them. Forests are places that make meditation easier for us.

Serenity and tranquility set in when I allow a forest to overwhelm my senses and at some point my ADD seems to disappear as the feeling of something bigger than me fills me up. The smell of cedar or spring fragrances get enhanced when city living has almost killed my sense of smell. The feel of soft ground instead of harsh concrete, gnarled roots providing stairs to higher levels or loose stones that remind me to slow down. A visual kaleidoscope as colours of past falls brown into fresh soil, carpets of fallen needles contrasting with the fresh sprouts of their replacements. Rustling of winds in leaves and songs of birds are far better music than the revving of engines or squeals of brakes.

Even in winter forests are wonderful places. The gentle fall of giant snow flakes between the trees each reflecting some moon light into the darkness. When it is to cold to snow the forest has the crunch of past snows and the nearest trees share their faint heat and break the wind a little. In spring the sugar maples give us sap to turn into syrup followed by the blooming of flowers.

The biggest part of living in Stoney Creek is the escarpment was a short walk away. Despite still hearing the cars, having to cross the tracks and seeing the litter everywhere it was still invigorating to walk along the twisted Bruce Trail for a bit. I have yet to find the equivalent in London, a place to walk for hours without finding concrete, asphalt or metal but if I did it had become part of the forest. This will happen to London when it fails and falls, it will become part of the forest.

I’m reminded of some of the subtle lessons in Tolkien, or at least as some I’ve read has interpreted. The Hobbits are stagnate people with no industry, just subsistence farming and songs at the pub. Ideal for some but hardly achievable for the majority of humanity. Some think like the orcs, consume everything, destroy anything, everything has a price or is merely in the way and should be disposed. Orc I’m told is old English for demon, the psychotic civilization that would result from the continued destruction and enslavement of nature and people would certainly be hell. We don’t need to be either Hobbits or orcs, elves had everything, were advanced, had a better life style than orcs or Hobbits.

Elf is an ancient word for Elder, which is fitting. No matter where on Earth our ancestors came from they had to be in tune with nature. Orcish civilizations fall leaving their ruins to discover in the forests or deserts. Some of our earliest ancestors left little archaeology but a more lasting legacy for us, that being the environment that sustained them is still here to sustain us. Maybe we should protect it and pass it on.


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