My Forest

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An Essay for English 101 I wrote :)

The assignment was to write and essay describing a person, place, or possession that is special to you and make your reader be able to visualize what you are describing.

So I wrote about the woods behind my house :D

Submitted: October 10, 2010

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Submitted: October 10, 2010

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My Forest


Flitting through the dense fog, I stop next to a withered tree. I reach out and brace myself against the soft moss creeping up a tall oak while I struggle to catch my breath. After a moment, I smile and allow the mist to rest on my warm cheeks. Taking a deep breath, I bound away happily. I am home.

When I was in elementary school, I was very wild and full of fire. I would refuse to listen to my parents when they would try to keep me from wandering alone in the woods behind our house. To my family,  I was headstrong and was determined to get into trouble. To me, the woods were never dangerous, but full of wonders, friends, and creatures. During the long summers and breaks of the school year, I would get up as early as I could, wolf down my breakfast, and escape to the woods. I would not come home except for meals, and even then sometimes I would eat at a friend’s house. The forest was my playground. Most of my friends I had as a child, I met in my forest.

My forest is a small stretch of trees that flows gracefully through my neighborhood. It weaves between the houses and pauses only at the winding roads. In one part of the forest, there is a ravine eventually flows down to the ocean. During the fall, my forest glows softly in an orange and green hue. It smells of mosses, leaves, pine, and spices.  When it snows, the woods are bright and the trees shine out as beacons against the dark winter sky. In the spring, the forest is full of birds singing, and squirrels chattering to each other across branches. At last, summer arrives to the forest, and despite the rest of the neighborhood, it is cool and slightly damp. It is the most beautiful place to me, and I know it like the back of my hand.

The woods were a place I could go to escape reality, and let my imagination run rampant. Where the only person who was ever harmed by my imaginings was me. I would come home just before dinner, covered in mud and scrapes, but grinning happily. Every time I returned home in this state, my mother would immediately point to the bathroom and demand that I clean up. I would eat, play video games, and watch a movie occasionally, but while I did these things, all I could think of is what I would do next in the morning. I could pretend I was an elvish archer, shooting down dark and terrible creatures. Or a spider monkey that would swing from tree to tree, never afraid to launch myself through the air, howling happily as I went. In my forest I could be anything I wanted to be, do whatever I wanted to do, and no one could stop me. Only when I started middle school did my forest change.

Middle school was the hardest time for me thus far in my life. I struggled with getting used to taking the bus to school, completing mountains of homework, having more than one teacher, and being picked on by my old friends for being different. It was almost as if my friends had forgotten the fun we use to have in the forest. School had changed them, as well as me. I stopped roaming the woods, and stuck to socializing like any “normal” girl at my age. It is very true that I am a social person, but I did not need to constantly talk about boys, or shoes, or how evil one teacher was to us students. I wanted to talk about outside, animals, fantasy books, and movies that inspired my imagination. I longed to be able to romp about in the forest behind my house, but was afraid to lose any friends that I had salvaged. By pretending to let go of how much I missed the “old days”, and pretending to be interested in boys as much as my friends were, I gained acceptance. Only now do I realize that was not what I really wanted.

Five years later, my forest is cluttered. After all that time not even going behind my house, I stumbled into the mess my forest had become on the way home from school. Trees that could not stand on their own had fallen to the forest floor. Ferns and branches covered the old pathways that I knew. Trash and abandoned toys can be found everywhere you look. The birds I use to hear singing right above my head are now far off in the treetops. My forest is quiet. My forest is abandoned. You can no longer see the old ravine because during a lightning storm an ancient pine tree fell across the top of the ravine. Now plants have grown over the fallen pine and made it impossible to reach the bottom of the ravine.

If I return to roaming the woods, I only do it when I am sad and need a place to be alone. Instead of being an amazing place full of life and laughter, the forest has been reduced to a quiet, cold, and lonesome place. The very trees seem to sag. The light, fluffy mosses I use to dance across are withered and dead. Children are afraid of the woods, and never go near them. It hurts me to remember how my forest once was, now seeing what five years of neglect has done to it. It wrenches my heart to see such an important place in my life be transformed into something that frightens the newer generation of children in my neighborhood. If only these children could see the possibilities of the woods and try to care for it again as my friends and I once did. Maybe a few of them will decide to broaden their horizons and play in the forest. For now, all I can do is clean up, move brambles away from the paths, clear away the trash, and care for a place where I loved to be.


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