Humming songs about Thumbelina while skipping toward the patch where wild strawberries smirk as they play hide-and-seek.
Running along the rustling golden path laid carefully with delicate cascading leaves.
Stopping to twirl now and then, silver bells of laughter playing with the gossamer leaves of the surrounding trees.
Seeking demure mushrooms that lurk behind the robes of gnomes disguised as tree stumps.
Constructing cosy moss houses for the faeries on the floor of the lush green forest.
Wandering off the path to explore, sometimes discovering surprises both pleasant and fascinatingly spooky.
“Mama, does a witch live in the little cottage in that clearing over there? Do you suppose she’s lonely? The squirrels and birds must keep her company.”
The memories of my childhood days of playing in the pine and maple forests remain strong with me to this day. I seek solace on the winding paths, allowing myself to be guided. I thirst to hear the whisper of the trees, the rustle of the leaves, to dance with the breeze and swaying willows and to stand rooted, attentive to the murmurs of the mysterious life that surrounds me. It always made perfect sense to me that the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien chose to set many of their stories in the forest. The setting has always been enchanting and continues to enthrall.
Several years ago, while visiting Fussen, Bavaria with Mr. Wanderlust, we chose to walk up the misty mountains toward the quietly bewitching Neuschwanstein Castle. The visit brought my fairy tales to life before me, overwhelming my fantasies as I sought to absorb the visit with great gulps, urging the colours, textures, and smells of the castle to remain in my memory without ever fading. The building lured me within and hypnotized me. My affinity toward it is that strong. I listened attentively to the strange stories of King Ludwig II, recounted by our tour guide. Prior to visiting the impeccable castle, I had read the fascinating story behind the Fairy Tale King’s idealistic vision for the perfect dwelling, and his story spoke to me, from one lover of magical storytelling to another. Standing in the lavish rooms of the castle and admiring every carefully planned refined detail, I felt I understood the king’s passion, and I whispered as much to the walls that were silently watching the processions of tourist groups. Those walls tell wonderful Medieval stories with their murals, yet I imagined the secrets they keep to themselves, with all that they have seen and heard over more than the past century.
After Mr. Wanderlust and I reluctantly left the castle, we took a walk in the darkening Black Forest beneath an overcast autumn sky and the heavy canopy of trees to marvel at the beauty of the swan castle from different angles. I read about the Black Forest in my favourite fairy tale books, and its significance was heightened for me at that moment. I saw what Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty saw on their own walks through the woods to collect mushrooms and berries. Shhh, don’t tell me they are fictional characters. If you have ever walked through those woods, I’m sure you were awed into stillness, allowing magic to weave its way around you, silencing your logical mind, if only for a few moments.
I continue to seek that magic every time I step onto a forest path. I wish to reawaken the enchantment, to bring back to life the fascinating stories of my childhood… If only for a few moments.
Have you ever felt such magic? Tell me about it, perhaps by leaving a comment below.
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