I Found My Forest

I have grown up in nature. I have run through the woods with my older brothers. I have splashed through creeks barefooted with my mom. I have spent many evenings cuddled up with my daddy beside a campfire while he watched closely to make sure I didn’t drop my fried chicken leg. This was, is, life for me. But did I appreciate it?
Not until now. 

When I began writing The Forest of Fayleen, I was going on my memories and a dream to create this extravagant world. But on Saturday, May 19, I found my forest.

My parents 23rd anniversary was the next day, so I went with them for a picnic up in the mountains to celebrate. We drove up the mountain, ate, and since we were so close, we walked down to the creek. As I was following the pre-cut path, I realized “This is my world. Lane escaped to The Forest of Fayleen when she was in need. And I just found the place that looks identical to my dream. I live in this world. This is where I grow up, where I learn to live courageously and love unconditionally. This is my Forest.”

I ran to the edge of the creek, and shed my sandals. I began wading, after I handed my dad my phone so I wouldn’t drop it. I began walking through the cold water, and fell deeper in love with my surroundings with every step I took. When I looked back to my dad, while I was shin-deep in the water, he was smiling and snapping pictures. I tried getting my mom to walk with me, but she would only go “ankle-deep”. Meanwhile, I waded up to my mid-thigh and many times I nearly fell in completely. But I was so happy I didn’t care. Who needs to feel their toes?

This was The Forest to me.

I found five beautiful stones, and even though they weren’t pearls, they were just as pretty to me. (They are now in a treasure box and have been dubbed My Mountain Pearls.) I was tempted to throw one in the water and see if a mermaid would pop up next to me, but I feared my parents would think I was completely nuts. (But I think they might have already figured it out.)

This is my world. These are my mountains. Where I’ve grown up. My way of life. My forest. But this place has been fashioned more beautifully than any wizard could manage. They were created by the Person who took the time to create us and love us, and no matter how flawed we become, he sees the beauty in us and in this world.

This is no Forest of Fayleen.

Our world is a never-ending Forest of God.

                                     -Lorryn Holt