Into The Woods

Usually I like to walk at the hill where there are panoramic views over the surrounding country and nature feels open to the sky. Up at the top I can have the peace and stillness I crave but still feel a part of my city.

Today for the first time in my memory I could not bear the thought of going somewhere so elevated and exposed. I wanted to be hidden deep. So instead I travelled out of town to the woods. I squelched in my shoes along unknown and outstretched meandering paths. Any views were completely obscured by a towering abundance of trees.  Their leaves were flushed with magnificent golden hues in the naked afternoon light. It was just me and the woodland thickets.

The further I roamed, the less sure I was of finding my way back safely. I felt slightly dazed from the immense solitude to be found in a place like this. I kept walking until I found a path adjacent to the roadside and followed it back to my car. Not a soul had seen me or ever knew I was there. I felt mightily anonymous. I couldn’t be sure whether I liked it or not.

On the way home I played Spandau Ballet. I sang out loud. I thought about where my life was going but it still appeared to me as an empty canvas, lacking any colour or definite shapes. I tried to sleep while listening to a radio programme about ancient Thebes, but a sharp pain at the front of my head kept on knocking. Rap rap rap rap rap. Suddenly I had a vivid recollection of the frightening dreams I had the night before. Unsettling echoes and images from them seemed to fill up my skull like a violent flood torrent. Any effort to sleep felt futile. In the end I got up.

At this point I desperately wished I could be a child again- unfortunately only a tired and vacant-eyed adult stared back at me blearily in the mirror. In the street lights from mobile phones were flashing and people were busy chatting as they walked along together in groups. So many sounds. But I had nothing to say. I mumbled a little to myself and that was it. I took a match and lit the candle by my bedside. I enjoyed the smell from the curls of smoke as they snaked upwards. There was a pen and books of crosswords sitting next to me. I knew the next morning I would have toast and drink coffee. Toast and coffee. Toast and coffee. I repeated the words in my head until my eyes finally closed shut.

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