The forest is a beautiful thing. Pure, serene, calm, and the occasional hint of chaos — such a perfect place to find
As a small child, I would leave the house at every opportunity to run wild in the woods. It would take about 17 minutes to cycle down the hill, across the highway, and left onto the path that appeared just before the round-a-bout.
Along the trail, there was the occasional jogger and cyclist that passed by. I would receive a gentle “hello” from those who passed and responded the exact same way.
At about the halfway point, before the cliffs appeared, there was a small opening that led to incredible wonders of the world. I can’t say this was a secret spot, but it certainly wasn’t overpopulated with people. In fact, I have only two memories of there ever being anyone else. One being my little brother since I would bring him there to have swordfights with sticks. And, two being a solitary man walking his great Dane on a crisp Autumn afternoon.
I would cycle between trees and the branches would tickle my sides as I rode deeper and deeper in the woods. Songbirds would flutter overhead and share their symphonies to the wind. Deer would be crisscrossing along the narrow dirt path until fear forced them to run out of sight. Falcons would swoop from their ginormous nests to snatch up field mice in their talons.
During these moments in nature, I found myself to be completely free. The smell of decaying leaves, the dampness near the swamp lands, the crunching of twigs and brittle branches — all these memories are readily relived within my mind.
Right now, I’m trapped within the metropolis of Xi’an, sucking on toxic fumes from the local factories, surrounded by concrete cages. Yet, the memories of these natural childhood places that gave me freedom to play, to live, to be.
What’s your great escape or go-to place for total freedom?