Moving into the forest was not my first plan. Or my second.
It was my fifth, actually, because there are enough old wives tales and scary campfire stories about that place to ward any sane person away.
And yeah, the place is weird. The trees never quite stay in the same spot, although they are very slow and usually good at avoiding key structures. Fallen logs are always occupied, and that goes for bramble bushes as well. Firewood is strangely hard to come by for a place that’s crawling with trees.
Hundreds of flowers carpet the forest floor, and they make beautiful bouquets as long as I don’t pick any that the fairies have claimed. They used to be hard to spot, but now I know to look for fairy dust clinging to the pedals. If I see a marked flower, I usually go find a different patch just to be safe.
Angry fairies are a hassle and, quite frankly, annoying.
The creeks and streams that run through the forest are gentle, perfect for soaking weary feet and washing away troubled thoughts. I’m careful to not let myself get lulled to sleep there. I’m not sure I’d ever wake up.
I met Trissa the day I entered the woods, and if I hadn’t, who knows what stupid things I might have gotten into. She knows her way around, and she was the one who showed me the way the forest lives.
Trissa doesn’t speak, but it seems she doesn’t need to in order to be heard. Not in this place anyway. Her hair is as brown as the rich soil beneath us and her eyes are a little darker. She has a few freckles across her nose that spread whenever the sunlight finds her face.
The animals love her. It was an exuberant squirrel, in fact, that brought her to me. I have yet to spend much time with her, really, that didn’t have some other animal snuggling close to her or sticking a curious head into our faces.
I like animals, I do, but these are wild things and I think we both don’t quite know what to do with each other.
Once, when I was in the cottage alone, a fawn wandered in. Apparently, we caused enough of a ruckus to send the birds soaring after Trissa. When she arrived, she found the poor fawn prancing in circles and myself crouching behind the couch, armed with a pillow. She had her hands full calming the both of us, but after a cup of tea and a bowl of salad, we came to an understanding. The fawn and I are good friends now, I call him Carl and he headbutts me whenever he gets the chance and Trissa regrets ever introducing us to each other.
I was not born for this kind of life, but I am growing to love it. I think the forest, in its own way, is growing used to me.
When I get lost, the trees slowly part to make a small path back to the cottage where I live. It’s gotten to the point where if I see a path in the trees, I just follow it. They take me on wonderful walks.
If I get hurt, a fairy inevitably shows up to sprinkle fairy dust where it hurts. It doesn’t make the pain go away, but it does make it heal faster. I’ve stopped wondering how they know when I’m in pain.
Trissa stops by for tea a couple of days a week, and she’s teaching me to knit. The chipmunks have gotten wind if this, and they stop in to ‘help’ me; which means I’m learning to knit with five chipmunks snuggled on my lap ceaselessly chattering in what I think are supposed to be encouraging remarks.
I might have become a tale to tell around campfires by now, but whatever they say about me, I know they have it all wrong. Yes, the forest is strange and wild and different, but it has adopted me as one of its own.
And I like to call it home.