Sometimes I wonder what goes on in the woods across the parking lot. When I need a moment to breathe, I swivel my office chair and look out the window. One rainy day a couple of weeks ago, I was moved to write what follows:
Today, the bare branches of the woods are softened by a misting rain, making the outside seem grey and mysterious and my office feel warm and snug. (My lamps and space heater help with the coziness!)
As I look over there, to that other world, the soft grey tones of the pine trunks blend comfortably with their dark green needles, the colors fading into darkness as I look through the trees. I technically know what’s on the other side of those trees: a swiftly running creek, a wooded hill rising on the other side… and a highly unromantic apartment complex.
But the in-between, the grey places, are what captivate my thoughts today. What dwells in those beautiful woods? What life lurks there? If I were George MacDonald, I would tell tales of the fairies who live by the creek. But alas, although Mr. MacDonald seems to know the secret ways of those elusive fairies, I have not yet spied them.
Maybe the wood nymphs are delighting in the rain today, drinking deeply from this softly persistent shower. If I were C.S. Lewis, I might have stories of their unique and graceful beauty. But alas, although Mr. Lewis seems to know the secret ways of those elusive wood nymphs, I have not yet spied them.
Perhaps there’s a beautiful red fox living under those branches. Or a bird couple building their nest, fooled by the warm weather into thinking that Spring has arrived. Maybe the fish are jumping in the creek, enlivened by the swelling waters. If I were Annie Dillard, I would describe their daily antics with joy. But alas, although Ms. Dillard seems to know the secret ways of those elusive creek-side creatures, I have not yet spied them.
The rain is pooling in the parking lot now, making me want to simultaneously go make myself a mug of creamy hot chocolate, and also put on my galoshes and go play in the puddles. But the woods – oh, those young woods of ancient wisdom! – the woods I approach slowly, hesitant to unveil their mysteries. I am afraid that where I look for poetry, I will find simply dull prose. But the woods on a rainy day can never be fully prose.
Even still, today I’ll admire them from afar. I’ll enjoy the patter of raindrops on the roof of my cozy office and let my woodland imagination roam free… well, for a few more moments, anyway, before I turn back to my work, refreshed by my flight of fancy.
Mr. Frost, from whom I snagged my post title, captures something of the elusive allurement of the woods in his poetic imagery. Ruth Artman’s hauntingly beautiful choral arrangement has stuck with me ever since I sang it in high school. This isn’t me, though. 🙂 This is the best rendition I could find on YouTube. Hope you enjoy it.