What comes to mind when you think of a forest? What emotions do the thoughts of a forest elicit? Do you think of something dark, mysterious and foreboding or do you imagine a beautiful, serene patch of creation filled with birds and other friendly creatures?
The answer for me would be both.
Little Cabin In The Woods
My family owns a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. It’s about a mile off the main road and about half-way up a mountain. You pass ten or twelve houses on the way to ours. My brother used to live in the house closest to us. (That’s why my folks built the cabin where they did — but that’s another story.) My point is, we’re not that isolated.
A few years ago, they started a large development on the land next to ours. It’s a huge development of really nice homes and outdoor amenities. They have a beautiful concert venue above us and sometimes on summer evenings we can enjoy the concerts. In the winter and early spring, before the trees are clothed in their leafy garments, you can see the most recent houses under construction.
Most of the time, I find it very peaceful and relaxing here. I love to sit out on the deck with my panoramic view of forest. The trees are so thick, you can barely see the mountains across the way. I enjoy listening to the never-ending concert provided by the various songbirds. Sometimes I’ll get to see a chipmunk or a squirrel scamper by.
Other times, I find it more unnerving.
Our driveway is about two-tenths of a mile long and it goes right through the woods. Our dog has decided that the perfect potty spot is a few hundred feet away from the house. This is all well and good until late at night. He also likes to walk down to the house below us — through the woods. Sometimes, when we’re walking, he will pause and look up as if he sees or smells something. I imagine all sorts of possible dangers lurking in the woods; from bears who want to gobble me up to nefarious outlaws hiding out in the woods. I can’t get back up the hill fast enough.
It’s A Matter Of Perspective
It’s funny. The woods are the same whether I’m sitting on my deck enjoying the sunshine and nature or tentatively walking down the driveway hoping I won’t come face to face with a bear.
What does that tell me? I think I crave safety. I think I’d rather view nature from a distance. But, what am I missing by not letting myself relax and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.
A Close Encounter
A few days ago, our dog started barking like crazy. He would run from the deck to the front door and back again. After a few minutes, my husband took him outside to take care of his business. Boone just about pulled him down trying to get outside and he was sniffing everything in sight.
The next day, I called my mom and asked her to check the security camera footage for the time our dog was barking so much. Turns out it was a bear — on our driveway, right by our house. He stopped to tug on a bush on the side of the driveway. Five minutes later, there was an image of me walking by that very bush.
Now you know why I prefer to enjoy the woods from the safety of my deck.
How about you? How do you feel about forests and woods? Do you see them as mysterious and foreboding or as part of God’s amazing creation? Or maybe you’re like me and see them a little of both. I’d love to hear, especially if you’ve got a good story to share.