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If you go down to the woods today…

24 Sep

I went for a walk today, down the path at the end of the lane to where the field meets the forest. I have walked this path a thousand times, so I was confused when I turned a corner and in the dying golden light of September, I saw a structure. At first I thought it was some kind of settlement, but as I drew closer, I saw that it had collapsed. There was a solid square foundation, at least 2 metres wide, and toppled against the fern-covered forest floor were ten metre high trunks. This was not just a treehouse, this was a functional eyrie. The splinters of wood were the same height as me, all shards of jagged chaos leaning against the sorry earth. Mesh wire split like industrial intestines – vulgar and ruptured, polluting this verdant sanctuary. I was aware of every sound, of every heartbeat rattling against my ribcage. What if… what if someone was in it when it fell? I sniffed the air, seeking the scent of decay. Nothing. Or nothing untoward. I peered into one of the upturned cages and realised I was holding my breath. I am relieved to find it empty. All that remains are the plastic cups, wine-rimmed and discarded. I feel as though I have seen something too private, too intimate.

©Megan Orpwood-Russell 2013

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