What lurks deep in those woods?  

Posted by Denis Haack in , ,

Yesterday we drove (nearly) the length of Minnesota, from our son’s home near the Canadian border back to Toad Hall. We left a day earlier than we had planned when a blizzard started moving across the Dakotas, threatening our path with snow and subzero wind chills.


Our trip home was under a heavy, slate gray sky. A light freezing drizzle covered the windshield with a thin coating of ice and transformed the trees and bushes lining the road. The woods were encased in frost, the air heavy with mist, a sense that behind the beauty lay danger. I imagined yellow eyes watching as we passed; one thing is certain: it is a place where getting lost is easier than being found.


“I do not think the woods feel evil,” Legolas, an elf says in Tolkien’s Two Towers (p. 119). “No, it is not evil; or what evil is in it is far away. I catch only the faintest echoes of dark places where the hearts of the trees are black. There is no malice near us, but there is watchfulness, and anger.”


The metaphor is powerful. Somehow a sense of evil has penetrated into the depths of woods so that hidden places of beauty are tinged with danger. Appropriately, the hope of redemption is promised by an ancient Hebrew prophet.
“I am the Lord; I have spoken,” Ezekiel records. “I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods” (34:24-25).


This entry was posted at Sunday, December 14, 2008 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


What lurks in those woods? Very large whitetail deer!

December 18, 2008 at 7:55 PM

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