OPINION: Remembering the woods of my childhood
The jarring sounds of chainsaws reverberate through the countryside disrupting the peace and serenity it normally projects. Then a loud thud sounds and the ground shakes.
Another tree has fallen in my beautiful Sherwood woods.
This wooded property had been in our family since 1946. Sixty-three of those years, the woods had called to me, drawing me into its magical inter sanctum.
Recently, our family property has been sold. The trees are disappearing, the trees I played among as a child. The tears start to roll down my cheeks as I grieve for what had once been my joy, my enchanted forest. How can I let go of what I love?
As a child, the gallant wooden fir pillars that grew thick behind our house daily called me. Within their depths, I listened to bird sonnets from the tops of the trees and watched squirrels performing circus acts from the lower boughs. I delighted in spying on the deer as they meandered quietly through the undergrowth, leaping over rotting logs and moss covered rocks.
When winter melted away and spring slipped into the woods, my laughter could be heard as I skipped to find the first velvety white trillium. Later, I raced to an area where I knew a beautiful collection of fawn lilies were clustered together overshadowed by numerous sword ferns. Soon, the wild irises opened their delicate blooms; their deep purple petals with vibrant yellow streaks appeared to be dancing with the butterflies and the honey bees.
In late spring, I would find the fragrant honeysuckle bursting forth with sweet perfume. They would weave a cocoon of ecstasy around me as I sat on a rock and inhaled their exotic scent.
Picnics, treasure hunts, nature walks, reading rocks, trees to climb, and wildlife to watch was a part of this fairyland.
When I moved away from my woods, I came home often and walked the old trails through the trees. I basked in the beauty of the wildflowers blooming at my feet and listened to the birds' concerts once again. Coming home to my magical forest brought such happiness and relaxation from the bustle of city life.
A while back, my brother, who lived on our farm which included these woods, told me that he was thinking of moving his family out of the area. A company soon became interested in the property and eventually purchased the farm and the woods. Immediately, trees were cut and hauled away, and "my" forest started disappearing.
I know the property isn't in our family anymore; still, it is hard to think about all the trees being taken out and the habitat of my wildflowers being bulldozed up.
The tears came; the loss seems so great. My heart sobs and my soul cries for my woods; then I remember the Sherwood forest of my childhood and comfort starts to engulfs me like the massive tree boughs that shelter the wild blooms. I can smell the firs and the fragrant scents of the wildflowers and hear the birds calling to each other. My heart and soul grows warm as memories come, memories that bring joy and will live on, even when my Sherwood woods are gone.
Myrna Sudul Rudolph is a Portland resident. She grew up in the rural Sherwood area.
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