Saturday 24 June 2023

'On Weekends, The Forest Dreams of Me' by Janna Miller

At least once a season but usually more, the forest dreams of me. Like a tickle in my inner ear, green or brown or spongy humus, it hovers near my elbow as I get dressed, calculate my taxes, or make waffles. The quiet moments are the ones it dreams of most, sighing in waves of quaking leaves and bowed branches–piney sprigs falling to the floor in a carpet of exhales.

When it isn’t dreaming of me, it is making plans to spend the weekend in my spare bedroom with the deer head wallpaper and sea-smoothed rocks in a bowl, as cool as when I found them on a misty beach. It wants to root in the plush throw rug and watch TV reality shows about baking. Yeast-risen cinnamon rolls fresh from an impossibly clean oven.

Some Saturdays, I drive to the tree line and tell that forest to stop. Dream of someone else’s long walks and weekend couch surfing. Dream of someone who skydives or runs marathons. A criminal even, collecting weapons and scanning security systems for weaknesses. I’m not rooted, not connected to anything at all. I wear my keys in a bracelet around my wrist so they don’t get lost.

But the forest ignores me, preferring the travel brochure over the reality. I drive back to town with a bag full of miniature pine cones to hot glue to the front door wreath. Whenever I feel the green, the wind of hot summer or bitter ice, I push a plush blanket to the end of the couch and turn the TV to something about the best diners in the south or how to make a fail-proof casserole, in case guests show up unexpectedly.

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