Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In the woods

Magic has always fascinated me... but not just any kind of magic. I’m talking about stories woven in the threads of myths and legends of various cultures around the world that contain elements of nature in them... especially the woods.

Perhaps my fascination with the woods comes from sensing in their darkness and, sometimes inhuman uniqueness suggestions of our precarious existence. Or perhaps it is the mysteries the forest hides in itself, or the trees standing undaunted, permanently providing shelter and visions of mysterious forms and exotic sounds and rare birds, and children lost in the thickets stumbling into the hands of evil witches...

I suppose I’m also drawn by the mystery found in the woods because I enjoy the use of the imagination. And so, whenever I go to the forest I set out to weave my stories... stories that go back to the old good days of childhood living in a far faraway country in a far faraway land where woods and its mysteries were an intricate part of our heritage.
As a child living in the Hollow I would ride on my father’s cart to Hollow Market. Yawning, I would nestle among the sheepskins; the eggs and milk, still warm, beside me. The back of the cart would carry the animals we took to sell. Such was our way of life. Childhood passed slowly, and life was carefree and wonderful. I used to love those early Saturday morning rides to the Market. Only one thing troubled me: Having to cross the dark mysterious woods! For as much as I loved the woods (and still do), crossing the terrible “Culhollow” could only mean bizarre encounters amidst distorted bushes and cramped, twisted knotted by time old trees. Their mossy limbs, low spread, served as home for pixies and ghosts of all sorts.
Just the mention of it still makes me shiver: “Culhollow”; that forbidden place. A land of sacred oak groves, druidical temples, and places of deep mystery... but there was no other way to town back then. To reach Hollow village it was necessary to enter that fearsome land of deep flora and ghosts a plenty... you headed north, out of the village, pass the cottages onto the slate-covered descent, and followed down into the woods...

On the south side, you’d find a spring of the clearest and the purest water. It bursts from beneath a rock, and, like most of the blessings found in Hollow village (whether we avail ourselves of them or not) it still pours its limpid fountain in fruitful abundance...

This river nourishes a thousand beautiful mosses and wild flowers that still today carpet the woods...

But for millennia these dense, mystical woodland has been held in awe and for much fear. Many villagers described it as being the most haunted place on earth, others warn that every space, tree and gnarly root is filled with merciless pixies and goblins who steal their young and hide them amidst the moss and leaf strewn tree roots. Locals will never venture near once the sun begins it slow descent over the land, for it was when the dark mantle of night drew tight that the heinous denizens of the wood stalked its paths in search of their human victims.

After a while we would reach a waterfall, where two weeping willows grew, each entwined with the other. No tree had ever grown there before, and now two weeping willows grew, trailing their leaves in the water, as though reaching after something they both had lost...

I knew the place as “The infamous lovers”, because of an illegal love affair between a beautiful maiden called Lady Adelaide and a married man... both were drastically killed by very pious and furious villagers in that same place, which it is call something different now. Lover’s Fall, they call it, the young folk. This place is only visited by the young, now. The old never do, and if they have to pass by it they make sure to make haste, and feel something cold, like a shiver. And they only glance at the mysterious willows growing there; a passing glance that says everything they need to say, and nothing more... They knew that the ghost of Lady Adelaide was known for visiting the place, and some even assured having listen to her very sad song of love, by the feet of the mysterious willows...
So you can imagine my fears as a youngster when crossing that part of the woods. The day I told my father that I’d seen the ghost of Lady Adelaide wondering the woods he laughed so hard he cried. “Folk stories”—he said with a click of his tongue, but I could see in his eyes certain hidden fear.... it was true; each of my words beard only truth; just as I’m telling you now. Truth as it is written and spoken...
The ghost of Lady Adeline wasn’t crying or seemed sad... in fact, she was glowing as she danced among the old giant trees and picked wild flowers that she would then graciously place in her hair and the folds of her dress...

That was the day when I decided I should never again be afraid of the dark mysterious woods... The Culhollow, they call it. You would never again fear walking into that tangled web of trees if you were among the few lucky souls who came across Lady Adelaide’s ghost. I was transported into a mystical world of moss carpeted boulders, lichens of all descript, finger like oak branches, all engulfed in a wonderful smell of earth and age. That's how wonderful and enchanted it was. Unfortunately, all of a sudden she looked back and saw me...

Magic was broken in a flutter of thousand butterflies as she run away...

I remember seeing her floating atop the foliage and mossy limbs. At one point, as if she knew I was watching her, she stood and turned. I saw her led a smile that spoke volumes when only silence was needed. Then she vanished... like a streak of cinnamon light into the depths of the wood.

OK, I’m well aware of my “soppiness” and tacky ways... but I believe I’ve already given you a hint on that fact through my profile, and about what a soppy corny girl I am... so I hope all this soppiness and tackiness haven’t offended you. Besides, listen to what my alter ego has to say:
Anne Shirley: Don't you ever imagine things differently from what they are? Marilla Cuthbert: No. Anne Shirley: Oh Marilla, how much you miss. In real life, those pictures were taken this weekend at our first campout of the year. Unspoiled forests and lots of wildlife are in that area as well as scenic byways. I love the incredible beauty and the diversity of the landscape. For me, it would be almost impossible not to dream and give myself to fantasize when surrounded by such beauty. I hope you take time to meet with Nature this summer as you camp and leave your worries behind. I would love to hear your own stories.


  1. Have you ever written a novel? If not, you should.. as a believer in the ghostly other world, I found your story very interesting. and the pictures were gorgeous..

  2. You may try to write :)
    Nice photos also :)

  3. What a wonderful story! It reminds me of all the stories we would tell while we were camping. Beautiful photos!

  4. Good Morning Cielo Sweetie...
    Oh my have I ever enjoyed my trip to Cul Hollow this morning. So beautiful and the babbly of the creek running through. So peaceful. Lady Adelaide was quite interesting to watch as she danced and swirled about. Still searching for her proper home.

    I love it when you write. Your writes make me feel as if I were right there with you. I can feel the bumpiness of the road beneath the wagon wheels as we bump along our way to the market, nestled among the sheepskin. Excitement fulfills me as I await all the festivities the market beholds. Wondering how many eggs and how much milk will sell at the market today?

    Such a wonderful journey. Thank you sweet friend for taking me along. I so enjoyed myself today. I can't wait to be able to get outside again. Here in the valley it was 116 in the shade yesterday and we are under a heat warning for today. So hot. No pretty forests or hollows here.

    Sending you many hugs and much love, Sherry

  5. Gorgeous post Cielo..thankyou for the enchanting adventure and the visit to this realm of magic! Beautiful photos! Love the one with the extra butterflies around you!! Cool!

  6. There is no "tackiness" here :0) it's pure magic and romance! LOVE it! We are kindred spirits, there is no doubt, I also adore the forest with a passion. Beautiful photos and beautiful story. Gracias por hacerme sonar XO


  8. I was by you ´´Dream Land´´blog,dear Cielo and was also under deep impression about you wonderful ´´Magical wood´´ story!-)
    What an unbelievebly great remark about the wild flowers as a carpet of the wood,LOVE it SOoooo much:-)))*

    You Amazed me,beautiful fair Cielo again and again!!!
    ''Inspiration of the day''-so I can call these fascinated story,dear,beautiful Cielo!

    These post make my day,thank you incredibly much for sharing with all of us you minds and you feelings!-)))*

    Love and blessings,

  9. Oh how I loved reading your story. Even as short as it was I was enthralled. And I love the Come back again with the key..I will be back. Hope you will visit my place although my writing would pale in comparison. Have a blessed week. Debbie

  10. Awesome photos and a wonderful story. I really enjoyed your post.

  11. Cielio,
    This was simply gorgeous, and so Anne-like. Loved each and every word and photo - lovely!


  12. Now you've done it. We are going to expect another story very soon. Thanks for the magical and ghostly visit in those lovely dark woods. I consider myself an Anne in this world of many Marillas... and yet, Marilla had it deep within her, as well. I suppose everyone may but only a few let it surface and enjoy... Thank goodness for imagination, Cielo... and for you.

  13. I enjoyed your story and forest photos very much. Thank you : )
    (and I don't think you are corny, I think you are blessed with imagination you can express.)

  14. Such a beautiful, magical post, Cielo. The photos are stunning and the ones of you remind me of a scene in my forthcoming novel. Enchanting! Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a message. Bright wishes. xx

  15. Querida Cielo: Me ha encantado tu historia y las fotos son maravillosas, nos dejas completamente fascinados, me ha encantado conocerte.

    Muchisimas gracias por tu comentario y tus palabras, me siento muy halagada con poder disponer de tus fotos, ya te diré para que lo sepas.

    Gracias siempre

    Un abrazo fuerte

  16. You always bring a sense of calm mystery to my hectic day. I too played in the woods as a young country girl and hold lots of memories still. Today my home is surrounded by woods just as it was then. I've even made trails to ride through during the late afternoons. It's so calming.Keep up your great blog. We enjoy hearing from you.

  17. Enchanting! The photos and story carry me to the woods! Ta!

    I often enjoy your music as I sew, too, as I make quilts. I appreciate your delightful playlist!

    Hugs -

  18. Encantada de conocer tu blog,tus bellas imágenes y tus palabras,
    Felicidades por crear un lugar tan mágico,

  19. Hello! What a creative and beautiful story with photos!! I agree, that nature provides a window into the supernatural...."Who is behind all this gorgeousness?" is the question that comes to mind when you see the dancing stream, the trembling leaves, or the sassy red flower collecting gazes amidst a sea of green....

  20. Cielo- your creativity in so many ways inspires me! Your home, garden, writing then I read the pictures were from your camping trip- Geez I never even think about bringing a pretty gauzy,floating type dress to take pictures while camping!!!

    Just came back from speaking at Jr. High camp. It is in the middle of corn fields in Northern Co. I was imagining the pictures I could have taken if I had only brought a dress!!! But then the thought of rattlesnakes (which they have had a lot of this year) snapped me out of my day dreaming! (maybe next year- still to close to that nasty incident last summer!!)

    bee blessed

  21. I love to visit the playground of your imagination.
    Never stop …….
    Sweet Blessigs,

  22. Cielo,
    You certainly have a beautiful imagination! I say write a novel...such an enchanting story and beautiful pictures! I look forward to your posts....

  23. Thank you for the journey this morning - I loved it and love your blog. Myths and Magic are also part of my soul, though I can't write as you do. Thank you!!

  24. a very beautiful and enchanting story. The pictures are perfect too!
    Just love the Anne of Green Gables quote - we are in the mood at our house to watch of our all time favorites!
    God Bless<


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