A Realist Walks Into A Magical Forest

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash.com

The wind is howling outside my window. I think the building just shuddered or was that a flinch? The glass is rattling. The trees are bending and twisting. How can something so sturdy bend like that? Do they practice yoga when we’re not looking, or is it a more primordial art? They have to do something or they would break. It has to be yoga, right? It’s the only thing that explains their flexibility.


Yeah, just a bit, because it looks like it feels so good. Imagine being that bendy, stretchy, and limber. I can’t even get my knees to bend at the right time. I stand up, and my legs lock. Without warning, I turn into a bobblehead with flailing arms. I go for a walk, and all of a sudden I’m taking a knee. Down to the ground in a position with religious connotations. 

Now, I’m spiritual, but I’m not that devout. The desire to kneel has never been so overpowering that I stop what I’m doing and assume the position. Moved by the spirit or betrayed by my joints? My knees, it seems, have their own ideas, and they will express them at inconvenient times.

I tried yoga once, well twice, and it didn’t go well. It does something to my equilibrium, and I end up breaking bones. My own bones! I should put that on record just in case someone gets a silly idea. I’ve never, knowingly, broken another person’s, or animals, bones. Only my own, because yoga does silly things to my brain. 

It’s so silly that my doctor won’t let me try it a third time. He’s never told someone that yoga is bad for their health before, but I was his first. Unique until the end. My sigh is weary. My ear roll is a little over the top. If only my knees and brain would work in unison!

If only I could discover the ancient bending art of the trees! They could teach me their ways, and I could learn from the wisened elder — or is that alder? Hardy-har-har. I gave myself a pity laugh. But seriously! Look at them whip around so effortlessly. Back and forth with ease. What’s their secret? I have to know. I want to be as limber as the lumber because that was just fun to write.

Please, don’t bombard me with botanical tidbits or cold scientific facts. While I believe that they have their place in just about every situation – I like my imagination a little better right now. For the moment. Today. Tomorrow might be a different story. What can I say? I’m feeling whimsical, and whimsy makes me a little flakey. 

Instead of logic and facts, I want to imagine a young sapling doing downward dog next to a giant cedar. Clumsily learning each pose with wide-eyed wonder. Watching the grown-ups go from one position to the next, and mimicking everything they do with steely determination. Sure, it doesn’t look right, but they haven’t learned how to control their branches yet. They’re gangly and gawky. They’ve fallen over half a dozen times. It’s kind of cute and the wisened elder, too old to participate, chuckles to itself as it watches over the younglings. 

*Cough* Weirdo.

Naturally, but I have a very active imagination, and sometimes I wonder what these ancient mammoths get up to when we’re asleep in our beds. When our eyes are closed, and the lights are out? When there’s no one around for miles or kilometres? I have my theories. Or, should I call them stories and flights of fancy? Call it what you like, but I don’t want to prove them wrong. I want to image trees doing yoga under a full moon. It’s a silly, fun, way to fill up the hours on a sleepless night.

Fine, if we’re being realistic, then they’re just trees bending in the wind. There’s nothing romantic, mystical, or supernatural going on in the darkened forest. There’s a whole scientific field dedicated to finding and sharing logical answers. All I have to do, if my curiosity would get the better of me, is go online and type in my search. I’m sure there’s a blog post, written by someone wise and intelligent, full of information. I could learn something, and maybe I’d win a round on trivia night.

Who am I kidding? I don’t go to trivia nights. There are too many people, and people make me queasy. I should add that the gastrointestinal issues, triggered by other humans, is a long-standing issue. It predates the virus that has spread across the earth, and turned us all into one giant lab experiment. People make me nervous, and having to participate in a public pop quiz for funsies? I can’t. Nope. I’m going to throw up.

But if I arm myself with the wisdom of the intellectuals then maybe, just maybe, I’d stand a chance. Ah, well, now you see…The thing is…Global pandemic! Yes, that’s the only reason I’m not pursuing academic enlightenment. Yeah, that’s it. No other reason. Please believe me.

Ah, but I do enjoy a well thought out science-based opinion, and I base the majority of my decision-making on facts gathered by the, aforementioned, intellectuals. It’s better than getting my information from the clickbait headlines on the various socials. I definitely ignore the advice of fear-mongering, conspiracy loving, people. Sure, they mean well, but their grasp on reality, or our version of it, is tenuous at best.

Did that sound too judgemental? Clearly, my patience is wearing thin.

We all have that one friend or family member who we love dearly. They have many wonderful qualities. Life without them would be boring, and it just would be the same. We need them in our lives. However, their understanding of scientific nuance is a little challenged, and their desire to share is too strong. 

We smile and thank them for sharing. Will we take the advice? Nah, but at least they care enough to try, and that says something. It just doesn’t say that they have a firm grip on certain realities.

But is a grasp on reality always necessary? Is it okay to let go of the tangible and grab hold of the fantastical? What about whimsy, romanticism, the mystical, or the other dreamlike states?

I’ve always been extremely logical, and hyper-realistic. When I was a kid, in the hospital, they had a Nintendo and tv on a cart. It was pushed from room to room, so anyone stuck in bed could play a game. One day someone stole the whole thing, and my dad asked, “How could someone do that?”

Without missing a beat, I looked up at him and said, “Uh, it’s on a cart with wheels. They just pushed it.” Obviously, that’s not what he meant, but my logical, very young, brain failed to pick up on the subtlety.  

I’m not that naive anymore, and I grasp subtleties significantly better. However, the logical answer is still my go-to response. I bite my tongue and shake my head. I swallow the obvious and try to see past it because, sometimes the obvious, most logical, answer doesn’t fit the moment. Sometimes, it’s not the most helpful thing to bring up. There are times when I have to let reality slide for the sake of compassion, or simple silence.

Still, some people run their plans by me because I’ll see the logistics and the realities of their dream. I can point out potential problem areas, and pitfalls. If something isn’t going to work, then I’m probably going to see that coming because I’m so damn logical and hyper-realistic.

Is that a blessing or a curse? Uh, still too early to tell, but you can call me Captain Buzzkill. I’m reporting for duty. I tried to salute, but I just looked silly.

I’m sure there’s someone else like me out there in the universe somewhere. The odds, being what they are, would suggest that I’m one in a hundred thousand. I just made that number up, but I’m working on the assumption that I’m not the only one. So, if you’re like me, here’s a question for you. Do you get as tired as I do? 

Being so logical all the time is exhausting, and being trapped in reality is a mind buster. It’s not good for my mental health, because reality kind of sucks. I would count the ways, but I’m too tired to make that very long list. Besides, you probably have your own list at this point. After all, we’ve all been sucked up by the giant sewage pump of 2020. Is a list necessary, or are we all just kind of numb?

Can we all agree to let the list go unsaid? Great, I don’t want to type the words virus or pandemic one more time. I just typed them. Damn it! Let’s pretend I didn’t, okay? Cool.

That unsaid, I usually search for order and rational meaning in every aspect of my life. Most of the time, it gives me a lot of comfort, but I can’t live in that state indefinitely. Life, in its infinite bitchiness, becomes too overwhelming, and if I don’t have an escape then — Well, I’ve never fully explored that reality, but the closer I get the more unsettled I become. I fear that, if I overstayed my welcome, I might misplace my mind for good.

How do I find my mind if I can’t remember where I left it? That’s impossible, right?

Which is why I switch off, walk through a forest, and picture the trees doing yoga. Thankfully, I’ve been given a very vivid imagination to offset the realism. The images I conjure are more like movies projected onto my eyelids. I can see the trees doing the cobra pose, or whatever it’s called. I can hear the deep breaths. It’s a fully immersive experience. Is it silly? Yes, but sometimes I need to be silly, goofy, and weird.

I need to laugh, suspend reality, and explain the explainable in a way that doesn’t make sense to anyone else. I need to be a weirdo and go a little loopy. I need the romanticism, mysticism, or the fantasy of a dream because the bubble we’re in is too much to handle. 

Well, my bubble is stretched to capacity, and, at any moment, it just might develop a rupture. It can’t handle much more, so I check out and wonder what trees do when we’re not looking. I wonder if the wind is trying to tell us some cosmic secret. If only we knew how to speak gale force! Oh, the stories the wind could tell us.

Honestly, my stress and anxiety levels have reached their peak. They can’t go much higher. If I don’t escape the realities of my life soon then: Pop. I don’t want my bubble to burst, so I’m letting my imagination run wild. I’m asking silly questions and creating silly scenarios.

I’m not that person, a lot of the time, but sometimes I need to be a dreamer and not a realist. Which is odd? The realist in me often conflicts with the dreamer, but then my two halves walk into a magical forest. They look up at the branches, waving in the wind, and they stop fighting for dominance. 

More than that, they join forces to create something new, peculiar, and wondrously real in an abstract way. Together they install a pressure valve, and my bubble releases the things it can’t hold onto. It makes room for everything it needs, and I can breathe a little easier.

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed for a long time, and I need the power of that magical forest. So, let’s picture trees doing yoga in the middle of the night. There’s no judgement! No one’s laughing. Close your eyes. Do you see it? I wonder what position they favour? I don’t know that much about yoga, but I imagine a headstand would be a challenge for a tree. 

What do you think?


2 thoughts on “A Realist Walks Into A Magical Forest

Add yours

  1. I love trees. We have tall cedar trees in our backyard and when the windstorms come, I try not to look out the window because they are swaying so much! Trees doing yoga is a much better picture to have in mind! Maybe they are trying to to tree-pose and losing balance , just like me in yoga class!


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