It takes a forest to raise a child.
The extended family of raven and tawny owl perch expectantly on black boughs, looking for years after the large head and stubby legs coming pink through the brambles.
The green woodpecker flashes her red head and tweets the little human’s stumbling arrival and the deer freeze on the meadow, ears swinging towards the newcomer.
She is loud and exuberant and oblivious, at first. If she stays, she gets to know her place, she remembers what no one ever told her. Her memories smell of spruce duff and carved alder and shards of flint.
The village yes, but the wild too, without a doubt, especially in these days of forgetfulness and comfort and autonomy and mediated sedation where grown humans agree on what our children need but get lost in a lack of time, devoured by heroic to-do lists pointing towards eternity.
There’s nothing virginal about the climax forest. Puritans will find little rest or solace here. Aesop too is a stranger to these woods. Too much ambivalence for the fabled ones.
The child soon finds sweet blackberries and steep cliffs and is dreamt by the hare, but the marsh and the golden eagle don’t play favorites. Anything can happen here, a breeze or a torrent, both will come to pass, all is of undeniable consequence.
Whatever the wild day holds, nothing here orbits around the child, unless it’s looking for dinner. That’s why she finds her way here. This is how she comes alive, if we let her.