The Forest In Me

I was raised by the sea. As a teen I spent hours at the beach, lying in the sand, seeping up the sun, trying to surf and checking out the talent. Surrounded by friends of a similar mindset, coastal beach culture flowed – through our choice of cloths, wheels, activities, music, entertainment and love of the environment……a gentle, relaxed lifestyle, different to that of  acquaintances raised on the buzz of big city life. I eventually married a waterman. The sea is a part of who I am. So why then does the forest move me to my core?

Perhaps it is because our coast line runs thick with indigenous bush and coastal forest. Lush foliage running down the sand-dunes and along coastal river banks, entwined by the revered Milkwood, (sideroxylon inermend) a protected hard wood tree which provides support to those trees surrounding it, feeds birds, monkeys and other small beasties, shares its secrets with traditional herbalists and works as an important firebreak. Perhaps this is where the love-affair began….

Travel north from our seaside village towards the Amatole Mountains and in a couple of hours you reach the tiny mountain village of Hogsback. The quintessential opposite of Chintsa. A perfect match.

 You will find no ocean here but rather, magical waterfalls among the deep and protected indigenous Eastern Cape forest, snow in the winter and fairies if you sit very still.

The protected Yellow-Wood grows tall and true, home to rare Cape Parrots still spotted along the paths said to have inspired Tolken to write The Hobbit.

Regular school trips from an early age and return visits with babies in tow have made this beautiful place an ongoing part of our lives and one of the precious spaces we go to when we need to renew our energy, seek inspiration, or simply huddle.

I love the sea for all that it is, but it is the forest that sings to my soul, and where my ashes will eventually fall.

 Hogsback, Amatole Mountains -Eastern Cape – June 2012


25 thoughts on “The Forest In Me

    • I have often wondered what it would be like to live away from the sea and if I would long for it when I wasn’t near it. The only time I did live a bit of distance away was for a short period and in a forest so I was a bit distracted by that:)

    • Thanks Kate. I do love this place. it is special in its own right, but also a place we used to manage survive the early years of parenthood. small escapes to keep us grounded and the kids are always so happy there. It has def become my eldests ‘happy place’.

  1. Beautiful images and post. You can come from a place and belong as to a family, but it’s so nice to go beyond that to other places and fall in love…

    • Broaden your horizons – I love that about life. There are really no limits to the experiences you can have and places you can make your own if your mind is open to it and you manage to appreciate the little things that are so easy to access and are often the most valuable. Thanks EllaDee.

    • Sunnyironman!!! You back on the planet?? Yay! I missed you. I can tell from your posts that you enjoy nature and the little things in life as much as I do. Thanks for your comment.

  2. What a remarkable post! Magical in its own right.
    It’s so interesting how certain landscapes speak so intimately to certain people — even if that’s not where they were born or where they live —
    It’s one of the wonderful Mysteries of life.

  3. Your descriptions take me back – was there as a child when the school still had some sort of programme of schooling there for a “term” – was convinced the fairies were there too, with their little firelights under the colourful toadstools of red with white spots – magical. A long time ago! I love your blog.

    • Thanks Lynn. Hogsback village is perhaps a little bigger than when you where there as a child but one of the things I love about it is that it always ‘feels’ the same. Fairies are there still. Leah saw them!

  4. Pingback: A Fairy High | mybrightlife

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