In all my life I have never lived far from a forest. Or at least not too far. And although I grew up with forests around me, learned much about life from forests, building dens, wading through forest streams, climbing trees, picking berries, watching dear, hares, frogs, collecting blue jay feathers, grass snake skins, empty birds eggs, snail shells, dead lizards . . . as a kid, I always dreamed of the open sea. Of wide horizons and rolling waves.
And now in these strange times of pandemics and travel restrictions and my own physical limitations due to new symptoms, the forest has once again become a shelter and a place of wonder and discovery. The open sea is too far away. I rarely dream of it these days. Instead, I turn to the river, cycling the same 10 km stretch, day after day, pushing against the cold wind or being carried along by it, beside me the water flowing dark and fast, I follow fat barges and the birds keep me company, geese, ducks, gulls, cormorants, and all the while, the thick forest on the hills is watching over us below the enormity of the clouds.