Cookies With A View
Well, do you know this German phrase – „Waldeinsamkeit“? I was under the assumption it grew quite popular recently, but to make sure you understand: it is the feeling of being alone in a forest. I was seeking for exactly this when I immersed deeper into the dark of the forest, down the tiny trail that winded from the main road. The sunlight was shielded off almost entirely by the towering trees as their leaves formed a perfect green globe that blocked the view into today’s clear blue sky. The further I came, the more perceptive I got of my surroundings. The voices from the people that were walking the „real“ trail dissolved into the distance and the air smelled fresh and clean. I immediately began to relax, for the defeaning noise of the city, this cacophonous mixture of cars roaring by, men and women chatting loudly and their kids screaming and construction machines hammering and shrilling sometimes makes me nervous.
And apparently, I wasn’t the only one to feel like this. As I proceeded to fight my way through the woods, I found traces of humankind scattered across the pine needle covered floor. Quite obviously I wasn’t the first to come down here – the dirt track was stomped neatly, and tightly, into the ground. Somebody made a great effort to create this path. Finding pieces of cloth – a red and blue checkered pair of boxers, some socks, seemed like somebody was searching for a little privacy to have fun in the open – didn’t surprise me. The confusion took over when I came across a framed picture tucked into the ground, with a text on it that, on a closer look, appeared to be a prayer as it said „Thank God for children.“ I stepped back a little to fully absorb the image as I was trying to comprehend what it did here, in the woods, so far off any form of civilization and it wasn’t until then that I noticed the freshly shoveled pile of dirt on whose top the frame was placed.
It was a grave.
Aghast, but in the same way immensely curious about this mysterious new discovery, I climbed and slided my way further along the trail in hope to find any signs of reasonable explanation. My investigation abruptly came to an end when the forest opened up and the trail stopped. To my right was a little precipice where, a couple of years ago, a small creek might have carried water from the top of the mountain downhill into the valley. The stream has long since dried up, but it carved the ground deep enough for me to make it impassable. Behind me was the thick forest and the carefully crafted trails into steep slopes from where I came. To my left and in front of me, hidden behind a curtain of branches and leaves, was a home. Pillows, kitchen utensils, clothing, used napkins and newspapers were all sprewed on a little plateau-like ledge. Astonished, I looked around until a sudden shiver of realizing that I am, right now, severely invading someone’s privacy jerked me out of my thoughts. I glanced uphill one last time to figure out whether the „owner“ was home, but neither did I see nor hear something special, merely the usual cracking and squeaking and chirping sounds of the woods and it’s inhabitants and somewhere, faintly, in the distance, cars.
Now, I faced the obstacle of finding my way back, since I clearly had come to a dead end. Climbing up is always easier than down, but luckily the slopes were short and the forest offered enough big, stable trees to hold onto. Back on track and blinded by sunlight, I sat down on a trunk close to the main road, where hikers were constantly passing by, and gathered my thoughts. I felt like I previously had submerged into some kind of alternate reality from which I only in this moment surfaced. And it’s odd, isn’t it, that I came to this place to enjoy cookies with a view, and now I leave with a new secret unresolved in my mind and a curious feeling in my chest.