Woods

I have a lifetime love-hate-fear-love relationship with woods. Not forests, mind you: forests are grand places, noble, large, pristine or close to it. Woods are their scruffier cousins. Woods are usually found near neighborhoods, and they’re lined with crisscrossing trails made by kids and adults looking to hide things. They’re typically heavily littered with broken bottles, used condoms, and other unsavory trash. They’re menacing, but they’re fascinating. When I was in elementary school, I spent most of my free time in the woods with my friends. We built forts, we dammed creeks, we smoked our first cigarettes, we wondered about the condoms and underwear we found, we innocently took a bong that we found home because we didn’t know what it was. We knew that adults didn’t belong in the woods: when you saw anyone over about 13 years old, you knew it was best to keep quiet, hide or beat a hasty retreat. Something bad was going to happen if you ran into an adult you didn’t know in the woods. That’s probably the deep psychoanalytical root of “The Devil’s In the Woods Again” for me: whatever you meet in the woods, it’s probably gonna be bad, but you’re gonna go back the next day anyway, just for the thrill that those encounters engender. Like riding a roller coaster, only without the safety bar, and with a potential psychopath in the car next to you.

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