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  • Monique Sliedrecht

The Green Forest


Before heading north last week, I was invited out for a celebratory hike through Roslyn Glen - celebratory as a good friend had turned 60. I had never been out to Roslyn before and, to be honest, I hadn’t hiked through a forest for a while - perhaps not since a trip to Algonquin Park, Ontario, a couple of years ago, which feels like a long time.


The north of Scotland is generally sparse when it comes to trees, but going through that glen brought a wave of nostalgia. While the varieties of trees and undergrowth are different from Ontario forests that I grew up with, the feeling was the same in early Springtime: new life, fresh smells (in this case a lot of wild garlic!), muddy paths, uphill climbs, and a general sense of aliveness.


There was quite a group of us, including some adventurers and risk-takers (you know who you are!) We made a wrong turn on our walk back to the castle, and had to backtrack, adding another half hour to the trek, but we took it in our stride, lured at the thought of tea and cakes at the end of the trail.


There’s something about walking alongside people in nature where conversations are bright and perspectives are clear. Sights are restored.


I think of the music at the start of a tv programme I used to watch called ‘Fables of the Green Forest’:

‘The green forest, the green forest, the laughing brook chuckles all day….’

(Following immediately after was the theme music of Dr. Who which really frightened me as a child, so the tv was immediately switched off. Lol.)

Interesting, these associations with music and memory. Just as interesting is the connection between nature and familiarity or sense of place.


I was reminded of how much I love the forest. For me it is a kind of haven, reminding me of good long walks with my Dad and brothers into unknown territories. It always felt like an adventure with Dad, and he helped us notice the small things on, or off, the path.


I’m glad to have had my eyes opened in this way, and continue to enjoy that restoring of sight and perspective when venturing out into unknown, but familiar, woodlands.

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