Forests are called the lungs of the world. The trees and plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale the oxygen that sustains human and animal life. They put to good use the gases that heat up our planet earth.
Forests sustain in other ways, not only by harboring creatures massive and small, but also by birthing serenity and new ways of thinking. When I reached a notable birthday years ago, I spent that day in the Muir woods near San Francisco. In Chile, I walked through a national park in the country’s lake region on the first day of one new year. That trek through the trees eventually revealed twin cloistered water falls that required a long pause before moving on. In another place in Chile on another trip, trees sheltered a stream brilliant with luminescent colors, a beacon on a foggy and rainy day. I wrote about the significance of that experience in another post.
When I wrote a story influenced by Celtic folklore, The Mists of Na Crainn, in it a forest holds secrets as well as a connection to family for the main character, Lyric Doherty. In my children’s book, The Island of Lost Children, the forest is a gathering place for the children who want to work together to keep their home a safe place. Stick horses that become stallions of wind and foam carry them there.
I am always drawn to forests, whether majestic blankets of green that go on forever or enclaves in surprising locations. On so many levels, they are essential elements of our survival. We take in their gifts with every breath we take.