When I was little (yes everyone I once was little and didn’t have adult cares, how long ago? None of your business cheeky bugger), I was born (not hatched or beamed down as some believe) in a very small country town. I was actually the only one of my siblings born in this small town, but my moms family was from there and we lived there a short while. We moved to a different place, not to far away from where I was born and made frequent return trips there, so much so when I was small, it was as if I never left. Many memories of those days are gone, lost or pushed aside by other information garnered over the many years of my life (no you don’t need to know how many!). Some are still there and pop up at weird times to remind me of something (I truly wish I knew what that was) and they sometimes linger about showing up off and onto annoy me.
Like my grandpa’s place where we stayed at times, he had a tater field and would pay us kids a quarter for whoever dig up the biggest tater (by hand of course). Even fonder memories were of visits to my Aunt and Uncles house (10 minute walk across one dirt road and a couple fields) where they had rabbits (for eating, sorry no pets) and a pond that I would spend hours catching and releasing bream and catfish in (unless my uncle said “keep’em we will eat them for lunch/dinner”). My childhood memories of these times were to me idyllic and I’m saddened that they slip out of remembrance only to pop up occasionally now days.
My grandpa, my uncle and sometimes dad if he were not off helping someone fix something (seems I remember him always fixing stuff for people when we visited there) would take me fishing on a river that ran thru our little town, and at this part of the country, separated two states acting as part of the state lines. When it was summer and it hadn’t rained much, you could basically walk the river for miles without ever getting past thigh deep (on a small boy) except for parts around stumps and widow-makers (underwater snags).these deeper pockets is where the “Stump Knockers” (google it) were hiding and where the lines from our cane poles were put to catch what we could then move on to the next.
Sometimes my grandpa or uncle would stop and stare off into the woods as if seeing something but try as I might I never caught what they were seeing. I asked over and over ‘what are u looking at grandpa /uncle ” and would get “nothin son” or “just looking”. My aunt told me later that they were seeing “forest creatures” and she would laugh. Now as a small boy this fascinated me to no end, but soon I would be off to other small boy things and it would be forgotten.
Fast forward a few years (again, don’t ask how many, it’s rude) and I spend as many spare seconds as I can in the woods or creeks, hunting, fishing, photography, just being outside with Peach, or whatever. This is my happy place, my forget all your troubles, relax and just “breathe” place. Took me several years to catch on but I think I finally get it..
People who spend time in the fields, forests, swamps and natural places will know immediately what I mean in a couple seconds, some others will also as there are other types in the world. Here you are, let’s use photography as the reason you are there in nature just as a for instance. Strolling along slowly maybe with purpose in mind of something to photograph or maybe not, then, without knowing why or even thinking about it, your focus is drawn to a area or specific spot, why? Did u subconsciously see something, was it a memory of something from a time ago, or something else?
I have come to believe in my own silly mind it is done with purpose and you were drawn to that spot where one of the Unremembered Forest things was, or had just been. Your mind saw it before your eyes could catch it and your vision focused on the spot it just vacated. Good hunters have a developed sense of where game can be found, same goes for good photographers and other nature lovers. We all have in us a Predator instinct, that’s why our eyes are set in front of our head and not out to the sides (look at a cat as opposed to a deer). This instinct does not go away, but now days it’s suppressed by societies belief that “hunters are evil” (sorry squirrel ran by).
When we were children and out in nature I believe we could see the unremembered Forest things, and they weren’t afraid to be seen, but as we get older and refuse to believe, they have become skittish and we only get to see the places they just were when we spooked them.
There are so many unexplained things in nature that scientist and nay-sayers roll their eyes at, doesn’t matter, I still believe. I spend lots of time outdoors, exploring the wild, and I am constantly being drawn towards things without knowing why.
Here is an example of not seeing what’s there, I took this picture without knowing why, the colors are ok, but I didn’t really think it was that awesome. I was drawn to it without knowing why, snapped it and moved on. As I reflected upon it later I recognized the image before my eyes, if you do not see an “Angel praying” then you need to get outside into the forest for several days to reset your brain before it’s to late.
Seeing for the first time in ages the hiding places of these “things” sometimes leads one to make up rationalizations for why we chose that spot to focus. That’s cool If that’s what you believe, who am I to try and dissuade your beliefs? Just like I chunk opinions of others who try and dissuade mine into the “bucket” with the other rubbish.
I call these things “Unremembered Forest Things” because I believe that when we were small, and well before our brains were polluted with things society thinks we should know, we knew these “things” be it creatures or something else. But over time we have forgotten them, only to be reminded every so often subtly by our unconscious mind, a tugging of your focus for no apparent reason to a certain spot, and hint of a smell, or whatever. Watching the stillness of a pond where no breeze is blowing, when suddenly there are ripples on the surface as if a stick was drawn across it, Water Faries dancing on the surface? Naw just the wind right?
In the stillness and quietness, I find my peace, and I find those parts of myself from my childhood I thought were gone forever. Sometimes I can just stand still in the woods, for hours at a time and be content. This refreshing memory inducing time is only ever bettered, when I have my Peach along with me. Peach gets it, she gets me to, she knows there are things we cannot explain, nor do we have to try, we should just enjoy them.
God has filled this wonderful earth with creatures great and small, and it’s up to us to “remember” them all, and to take time to go seek them where they are.
Hope you all enjoy this ramble, and it’s my wish that if you want to, you go into nature, and let your unconscious mind guide you, follow it, and see if it does not reveal some of the “Unremembered Forest Things” that you knew in your childhood years.
“Did ya see how that last pick looks like it has a turtle in it Peach?”