The Wood | Pushing the Wave

The Wood

Reflections, 18 November 2021
by L.A. Davenport
Sydenham Woods
Sydenham Wood
The wood, in some ways, captures the inherent contradiction, the double meaning, of solitude and separation.

On the one hand, the wood is a close friend. It is cool, it’s protecting. It is still and stable. And it is isolated from all that is ‘out there’.

It’s quiet and calm, and you are secure and held. It’s almost womb-like, in it’s damp, sensory world of intimacy. You are in a place where you could live, all alone, held in its emotionally comforting embrace.

Yet all of those qualities are the reason why the wood is a source of fear, of threat and danger. You are aware that the protection and comfort and the isolation that it provides you is also available to anyone or anything. It is possible for people to hide everywhere, to creep up on you. In darkness, the wood is suffocating, claustrophobic, frightening.

More than that, the wood is constantly, observably, unrelentingly locked in a perpetual cycle of death and rebirth. It is decaying all around you and yet it is growing at the same time. It grows out of death. That is all you can see all around you. Plants, trees, insects and animals, all living off death.

The trees are covered with parasites and mosses that don’t quite kill.

And yet we enjoy all of this. We enjoy this fear, this contradiction. I love being comforted by the wood, and I love being frightened by it. It is a magnificent space partly because it’s proximity to death makes me feel alive.
© L.A. Davenport 2017-2024.

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The Wood | Pushing the Wave