It was a simple choice: carrying on with the known path that would take us back to civilisation, noise and pollution – or deciding to follow the trail leading on to the unknown.
A small adventure seemed like a good idea at the time, so we entered the woods.
Progress was slow, there were countless obstacles in our way. Trees that had been left alone for heaven knows how long and grown unrestrained almost seemed to bar the way.
“You shall not pass” they appeared to say – not as fiercely as Gandalf on the bridge, it was more of a determined whisper. Still, we were not to be deterred that easily and carried on, walking deeper and deeper into the shadowy thicket.
We encountered some highwaymen who were more lost than we were – hardly surprising since they were obviously from another time and place.
How long had they been meandering through the woods? It’s hard to say, but they told us tales of lecherous satyrs and enchanting nymphs with golden wings. They spoke in hushed whispers and with wide, bewildered eyes – they might have been menacing once, but their long stay in the woods had taken all the fight out of them.
We left them next to an ancient-looking tree, all black trunk and gnarled roots coming out of the ground. We didn’t offer to help them, and they didn’t ask for it either – there was obviously a lack of trust on both sides, and is it any surprise?
We were hoping to meet some of the creatures they had talked about, but we were severely disappointed: not a single nymph to be found, gold-winged or otherwise.
After a few hours of us battling branches and sinking into the heavy blanket of leaves on the ground, the woods came to an abrupt end. We emerged, blinking in the daylight, and wondered if we had dreamed the whole highwaymen encounter.
Making our way home, we decided it might indeed have been a dream. After all, all our lives we’d been scolded for having too fertile an imagination. Still, it had been a good afternoon, and definitely an adventure. Real or otherwise, it didn’t matter either way.