The girl who loved the woods

There once was a girl who loved the woods. She discovered that the forest had a language all its own, something that drew her and connected her, but she didn’t understand it. So she spent day after day exploring, gathering sticks, sitting quietly by the small stream nestled between the layers of dirt and clay stacked together, the rich, green grass alive on the surface. She studied the blades of grass intensely. There were so many strewn together, once scattered seed, now mature grass that beckoned her to sit down and spend time there.

Each day she spent there, she fell in love over and over again. Life was so abundant, beautiful and mysterious.

That little girl spent summer after summer retreating into the woods. It happened slowly, but little by little, she found her attention being directed more and more to life beyond the forest. So she explored for a while “out there” to see if anything could capture her attention. She never really felt like she could be herself “out there”, though. She tried, but seemed to get tossed around by everyone else wanting her to grow up and be responsible and be someone else. It seemed easier to just go along with what everyone else wanted her to do, so she did that for a while. She even believed things about life that seemed to guarantee safety and security.

And then one day, she had her first experience with intense grief and pain. That was the day everything changed. And every day for the next decade, she felt like she was dying a slow and painful death. Grief gave way to intense feelings of anger, confusion, resentment, cynicism. And then one day, she realized she wasn’t literally dying, although it surely felt like it. She realized that she had to experience what it was like to die before she actually dies. And now she knows that death and darkness are part of life and light and goodness. She knew it, but she was naive. Experiencing it has changed everything for her.

And then she realized that who she is was hidden deep inside her all along. Who she is is who she will be.

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