It had been two months since I’d last set foot in that forest. I missed it, not because I’m one of those Argonaut types or a nature-loving hippie, but it gave me a whiff of nostalgia. I’m not even old yet, nor am I on the cusp of full-blown adulthood, I just feel like there are certain obligations that I must address as I age, and the forest awakens the repressed memories of simpler times thereby taking precedence over those obligations.
I love the forest, not because I think nature is this haven that alleviates our worldly preoccupations, but because it’s a cool place removed from the cacophonous conurbations I’ve known all my life. And I like going there with my friend, this mild mannered innocent boy who knows more about chakras than he does about taxes. His head is full of ideas and hopes and being with him quells my existential worries and stifles my cynical outlook on life.
I like sitting on a knoll, perched high above the greenery while puffing on greenery, admiring the dance of dragonflies and wincing as mosquitoes somehow find their way around my flesh. There’s no need to talk and the innocent boy joins me in contemplation, absorbing the full splendor of a moment that will be lost in time, only to be recovered among reams of other memories.
I don’t need anything else, I don’t have to explain why I enjoy those somber moments in communion with the tacit beauties of the world. I don’t have to explain why I’d rather persevere to find a perfect spot to clamber to, just like you don’t have to explain why you like mulling over things while in bed. It’s just the things that we do when we’re truly uninhibited, it’s our natural state to gravitate toward the simple things that bring us pleasure.
But at the same time, the forest is a metaphor for something big, something that’s missing from my life. A respite maybe, a pause button. Just the mere fact that the present morphs into the past in no time at all, makes me anxious. But the forest squelches those anxieties with its quiet lifeforms, all existing without any anxiety at all.
It’s not like I would want to live in a forest, because I like wearing high heels and my laptop, I like materialistic shit like any other young woman, I like plastering makeup all over my face and preening at my reflection. But the forest is like a treat, a gift to compensate for all that misanthropy and self-loathing. The company of a similar soul is a bonus, but it’s not necessary at all.
Contemplation is so often conflated with isolation that most people undermine its importance. To contemplate is to be grateful for existence, and isolation is to be grateful for yourself. It behoves everyone on this earth to be grateful for the simple things that allow them to exist, and if the forest does that for me, it does so very rarely. But its impact is rarely missed.