I’LL LOVE THIS FOREST UNTIL THE DAY I DIE.
It was a place of possibility. Where anything could happen. Secrets hidden behind every tree. Discovery around every bend. Adventure was everywhere.
I was always struck by the trees. So much bigger than anything we had in the city. And so many. No matter where you looked, there they were, towering above and continuing on past the horizon.
Walking beneath them today, I’m reminded of the games of hide and seek we’d play in their shade. The time I came upon the perfect spot. When no one could find me, I cried my eyes out, waking hours later to Mom’s touch as she picked me up and carried me back to camp. To the bonfire.
I craved the smoke’s heady scent in my nostrils while simultaneously doing everything in my power to avoid its brutal sting to my eyes. Every night Liz and I would get one step closer to the perfect s’more recipe. It’s a miracle our teeth didn’t fall out with all the scorched marshmallow and melted chocolate we ate amongst these trees.
In later years, we discovered the lake. The forest stayed to its shore, watching on as we swam and played. It became near impossible to get us to leave the water. We’d spend full days splashing about, emerging only when our bodies became too tired to keep us afloat.
It’s still hard to believe this will be my last visit. I wanted to protect this place. To protect the memories it’s given me. Now all I want is one last dip in the lake.
I never knew there were so many different machines for destroying trees. I can only hope the water will drown out some of the noise.
word by Grant McLaughlin
colour by Julien Coquentin