December 2017: In My Mind, I Live In the Woods

~by Virginia Rhys-Anson, OFS

The forest of my desire evades the abode of my reality. I find myself escaping in my mind’s fancy to the forested home of my dreams.

A gently sinuous earthen road disappears amidst a forest of piñon junipers and woodland oaks. A forest so dense that its silence, so utterly and placidly complete, feels to be hugging me. Odd though it seems, I can actually feel its embrace. Never in days past have I literally felt such complete silence.

Piñons’ and oaks’ scents encapsulate the air, their bouquet quite tranquilizing. Breath after breath captures their healing essence, their fresh virgin air. My touch to their bark; their life spirit sensed. The prick of their needles, the tap of their leaves hints of the fairy life harbored inside. Their telepathic converse awakens my Celtic heart. Would that tree’s branches were low enough to climb that I might sit in the hug of oak’s branches, cradled in its comfort. A saunter among piñons and oaks could leave one disoriented and lost, yet they always lead me back. Never do I fear losing my way—in the woods of my mind’s enchantment.

Arboreal canopy towers high above my log home of fairy design. Slices of trunk, a doorway’s path do create. Steps hewn from cedar bedecked with a rail of rough oak braced with baluster twigs left naturally angled and knotted lead to my home in the trees. Nary too high, my fear of heights to accommodate. Home’s arched front door, decored with a branch sculpted thereupon, delicate fairy creatures etched in flight, opens to my cozy oasis.

Mingled with furniture’s cedar perfume, fireplace’s aroma quells frazzled nerves. Mantel aglow with fire’s gleam, symbols of Celt carved crisply upon. Surround fashioned from river’s rocks. A modest chapel sits sheltered in arched cove to fireplace’s left. Atop its altar sit statues of Jesus crucified, His dear mother, and St. Francis of Assisi. A candle lit in their honor.

Home’s porch wraps clear ‘round. A rocker of pine, crafted ever so comfy, sits catawampus to behold a mountain range blue tinged in the mist of a new dawn. Sipping a cup of Earl Grey, the forest’s ambiance I osmose. The soft whisper of nature’s breeze among her trees greets my ears. Her chickadees, larks, and robins synchronize their melodic chorus. Woodpecker drums in the near background. Golden Eagle screeches its distinctive call, somewhat haunting, but ever so soothing.

A spotted owl alights on piñon’s branch. Such a mysterious, yet noble bird. Her dinner surfaces from beneath earth’s cover, and owl descends in perfect stealth to snatch her prey. Prey narrowly escapes.

Meandering creek gurgles as he roams through forest’s realm, a mere dual of fathoms from porch’s edge. His shimmer betrays a midmorning sun. Dragonflies hover above his surface, while my much loved rainbow trout swim beneath. An elk antelope and her babe venture to creek’s bank for a sip of his chilled potion. Monarch and swallowtail sup daylilies’ nectar, flitting from bloom to bloom, occasionally departing to a sunny boulder to warm and dry their wings. Once recharged, they take flight again to sip blossom’s delight.

At times prayer beckons, and a stroll to woodland church ensues. Oaks’ arch their limbs, housing an altar of boulders fashioned by nature’s design. My soul rises to Heaven’s loft as I sit on an oaken stump in quiet contemplation and converse with my Loving Lord, nature’s infinitely artistic Creator.

Creek entices, once again, His far side finds a grassland meadow jeweled with a patch of bluebonnets sporadically bordered by coneflowers and interspersed with daylilies. Wolf pack rests amid prairie violets, pups romping and climbing Dad’s back. The alpha male, a deep charcoal gray, I have dubbed Dakota. Totally accepted am I in the pack at times when I join them for a midday nap, slumbering with Dakota as my pillow, pups asleep on my chest.

A doe and her twin fawns frequently visit. Fawns trot to me for a quick nuzzle and pat. Then they are off again to pounce and bolt, parting bluebonnets along their path, finally settling for an afternoon forage near Mom.

I relax for seeming hours watching the butterfly aerials as paint-splashed, winged creations float from coneflower to daylily to violet. Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Monarchs, Red-Spotted Purples all sachet from blossom to blossom, imbibing their nectar. Tiger alights atop a coneflower, spreading his wings to catch the warming, drying rays of the sun. Then he glides to daylily’s bloom. Such a pleasant dance is that of the butterflies.

On eve’s approach, the cricket chorus toons up, tree frogs joining in wilderness harmony. The golden glow from tree house lights and fireplace flames creates an aura of warmth. Sun’s set displays its reddish and amber hues. Slowly he recedes from sky’s canvas to rest within Earth’s bosom.

Comforted do I sit on my phantasmal porch, the choir of evening wildlife, the aroma of piñon trees, the tickle of a breeze upon my face, the murmur of creek’s journey–forest’s solitude stroking my senses. Wrapped am I in the serenity, the quietude of my mind’s home in the woods.


Virginia Anson grew up in the shadows of Sandia Crest in New Mexico. Family camping trips may have sparked her passion for nature. She holds an A.S. in Electronics Technology, a B.A. in Writing, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and a certificate in Wildlife/Forestry Conservation. Her book, Mother Earth’s Caretakers, targets middle school youngsters and is published as an e-book for Kindle. Virginia is a Vietnam Era veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and her volunteer endeavors see her as a lector, Eucharistic minister, and sacristan in her parish and as a habitat steward for the National Wildlife Federation. She especially cherishes her life in the Secular Franciscan Order, following in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi.


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