The Man in the Woods

“There came to his nostrils the scent of summer, the smell of flowers mingled, and the odour of the woods, of cool shaded places, deep in the green depths, drawn forth by the sun’s heat; and the scent of the good earth, lying as it were with arms stretched forth, and smiling lips, overpowered all. His fancies made him wander, as he had wandered long ago, from the fields into the wood, tracking a little path between the shining undergrowth of beech-trees; and the trickle of water dropping from the limestone rock sounded as a clear melody in a dream.”

“He was wondering at the strangeness of it all, when suddenly, in place of the hum and murmur of the summer, an infinite silence seemed to fall on all things, and the wood was hushed, and for a moment in time he stood face to face there with a presence, that was neither man nor beast, neither the living nor the dead, but all things mingled, the form of all things but devoid of all form… the darkness of everlasting.”

“He became nervous and strange in his manner, refusing to leave the cottage by himself, and constantly alarming the household by waking in the night with cries of “The man in the wood!”

Arthur Machen

To love the greenwood is to fear it. To seek the dark things that scurry and rustle. Forever in the corner of the eye. Full of hope and dread that they will emerge. Do we want the world to be an illusion? A fragile mask that hides the terror that lurks. Or do we want this to be all there is? Then again, there is, of course, no reason to think that what we want the world to be bears any relation to what it is.


3 thoughts on “The Man in the Woods

  1. “there is, of course, no reason to think that what we want the world to be bears any relation to what it is.”

    Yes! Tis the hubris born of the“civilized” that think to want things a certain way and then dread them when they are not. The tribal ones living closer to the marrow of it all held great respect for, and were humbled by, what they found they were a part of. And they too experienced real fear at times, no doubt, which spawned the humble-ness and respect. And the mysteries sensed in the corner of one’s eyes continue for those that still dare to wonder outside away from the glowing screens.

    Good to see you posting again!


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