Wandering the Night Wood

The character of the wood changes with the coming of the night, becoming a place of a whole different range of creatures, and the demesne of spirits.

The character of the wood changes with the coming of the night, becoming a place of a whole different range of creatures, and the demesne of spirits.

Sundown fell yesterday and found me yet several miles deep in the forest. As I was carrying a bowie, I could have built a lean-to, made a bed of spruce boughs and made a warm fire with some nearby quartz. But I also had a compass and flashlight, so I decided to hike out. It would only take an hour, more or less.

But navigating through forest by night is tricky. There are few visual references, and even upon a clear night–such as last night–one cannot see the stars. So it was I progressed north knowing eventually it would take me to the valley of the Rusalka Brook where I would intersect a dirt road, which I could easily hike back to the Hollow. The forest was eerie and beautiful by night. Every tree seemed to possess a life of its own, and sometimes I could swear there were none too distant voices. And, as luck would have it, I stumbled upon a trail I had not before known, a beautiful trail over which ancient maples and birches and elder tamaracks arched and leaned in, as if they sought to swallow the small incursion of mortal folk. I had the sense of meandering into a faerie tale, and kept expecting to meet a dreaming witch or the Big Bad Wolf or perhaps little Red herself.

I was almost saddened when the trail opened out to the dirt road, to leave behind that enchanted place. Such treasures lie in every forest; they all whisper of the elder and the eldritch. Such wealth is in every forest–old lore and secret things and forgotten ways. Every forest is beyond value.

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2 thoughts on “Wandering the Night Wood

  1. FeyWind

    …when I was very little, my family lived on the property of a summer camp. It is located in Ohio (US), and it is hilly and mostly wooded, though also contains a small lake, some acres of swamp or marsh land, and a narrow, though steep ravine. One of my very favorite memories of that time is of taking night hikes with my father and sometimes other children. We would bring flashlights, though we were not supposed to use them except in case of emergency. About half of the property was fairly riddled with trails, so there was no need to use the flashlights, most of the time – we who lived there always knew precisely where we were. Would that I lived in a place with so little light pollution now!

  2. That sounds lovely, FeyWind. It’s much more wild here. Indeed, unless you are watching carefully, you could easily miss a trail even if you crossed right over it. Trails here are no more than a minor break in the forest.

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