Nothing never really changes. It all stays the same, just as you left it, as if someone had paused the film so that you wouldn’t miss a bit of it.
When I come “home”, I like to go directly to my tiny, minute room and sit on the windowsill which overlooks the garden, and enjoy a little moment for myself. It’s particularly nice when the sun warms up my skin and makes the grass and trees sparkle. But this year the sun has taken summer vacation, so it was under heavy grey clouds that the garden appeared to me gloomy and shaggy.
I thought of the rabbit family which had set home just in front of my window in York and wondered how the little ones were getting on. They had been a wonderful source of distraction this last term, playing about in the morning light to my great disdain while I was imprisoned inside with exams looming.
Now that all that is over, the rabbits are no longer in front of my window but I keep it wide open (I have been watering my carpet these last days, hoping to grow some grass in my room and maybe next year I could bring family rabbit back with me!)
Getting a bit desperate for some silent and adorable little friends I could play with, I left the windowsill, my tinny, minute room, my mothering Mother’s living room and house, and walked the few yards on the path to the forest.
People don’t really believe me when I say I live in a forest, or if they do, they imagine a patch of green with a few trees and some scattered wild flowers. But my forest is nothing like that. It’s huge and majestic: old trees, carpets of moss, jungle of ferns, high rocks and the most ferocious animals. The village I live in is called “Bois le Roi”, literally “the King’s wood”, where his royalty used to stay the night during hunting sessions, it gives you an idea of the atmosphere.
So, brave enough to adventure myself in this mysterious and I believe magical place, I walked down the hidden passage at the back of my house, and made my way through the tunnel of high oak trees and bracken. No rabbits in sights yet, but loud birds and crickets.
The earth was all turned over; wild boars had apparently recently been around looking for a midnight snack. I could still hear the roars of the car on the high speed road behind me. I went a bit further.
I walked until I could only feel and breathe the forest around me. I found a lonely rock on which I could sit on and starred.
Although I love the city buzz, the people flowing in shopping streets, the 8p.m queues at the cinema, the complicated underground maps, the high buildings which give me crazy vibes, there, alone on small rock within the trees, I had taken off my urban jacket and embraced my hermit cloak.
I was at home.
Maybe this is what “home” is all about. Far from me the idea that you should all take the pilgrim stick and hit the road to find the closest wood. No, you can settle your own home wherever you feel like it, wherever you are, wherever you consider yourself belonging to. I do like my mother’s living room a lot and I might reassure you in asserting that, no, I haven’t yet turned into a mushroom nor do I aspire to become a Crusoe of the woods. But there something special about my forest, and I have decided to say it loud and clear: the forest is my home.
Any summer plans ? I’m asked. Well, I now need to build a tree hut, make a bow, learn how to shoot (everything but rabbits!), put up with eating worms, and develop my growling skills. I’ll let you know in October how it went if by then I still know how to use a computer!