At the heart of the forest, there lives a nymph. Not the kind of nymph you might know from the fairy tales – no slender, young thing, with soft, green hair, sparkling eyes and limbs like young trees. Her hair is green, in fact, but it‘s damp and matted, like moss growing on fallen trees. Her eyes are dark and deep, like the pond beneath the willows, that hasn‘t seen sunlight in decades now. Her skin is wrinkled and gnarly, her limbs bent and wry, like the old oak at the centre of the forest, the oak she has seen grow from an acorn. Back then, when the forest was young, the nymph was young herself, singing and dancing in the meadows, her eyes bright and full of the sunlight shining through the light canopy.
She hasn‘t danced in a long time now. Still, her stride is strong and sure – she might be old, but not frail. During the day, she wanders the forest, slowly, carefully, as if not to disturb it, although she could never disturb the forest – the forest knows her, as she knows the forest.
The nymph knows everything that happens in her forest. She knows the trees by name, knew them all as saplings, mourns every one that falls. She knows the animals as well, every bird and mouse and ant, knows their secret feelings, their plights, their hopes.
The forest is hers, has always been. When the wind blows through the branches, it whispers her name, an old friend, even older than she is. But only a visitor still, as the forest is hers.
She knows everything that has ever happened in the forest, every child that got lost in its depths, every branch ever cut by human hand. She hasn‘t seen humans in a long time now. Her forest is peaceful. The nymph hopes it could stay like this forever.
At night, she sits at the pond, and looks into the water, remembers a time when the moon would reflect on the surface. Like the sun, the moon hasn‘t found its way through the canopy in a long time. Sometimes she misses the moon. Sometimes, she dreams.
She dreams of fire and axes, of big machines come to cut her forest down. She dreams of the old oak, lying on the ground, lifeless, with all its limbs cut off, stripped of the gnarly bark. She dreams of the animals scattering and dying, of the forest burning, and her bones scattered to the wind like the ashes of the trees, hers no longer.
The nymph shudders as she wakes, a glim like the glow of distant embers in her dark eyes. She shudders, for in her heart of heart, she knows that her dreams are the future.
The time we're given
Très jolie histoire, très poétique.
Elle me fait penser à un poème que Pierre de Ronsard a écrit vers 1550 :
“Ecoute bûcheron, arrête un peu le bras !
Ce ne sont pas des bois que tu jettes à bas ;
Ne vois-tu pas le sang, lequel dégoûte à force,
Des Nymphes qui vivaient dessous la dure écorce.”
Very pretty story, very poetic.
It reminds me of a poem that Pierre de Ronsard wrote around 1550:
“Listen, lumberjack, stop your arm a bit!
It is not wood that you throw down;
Can't you see the blood, which is disgusting by force,
Nymphs who lived under the hard bark. ”