Today’s Prompt: Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force.
A few strides from the unsuspecting town of Pitlocrhy hides an Enchanted Forest, it’s inhabitants include many robed druids and a glittering unicorn named Bob. This is not a fairy tale. However during my first walk through that forest I could have been easily convinced I was traversing through a Grimm brothers story.
If you are brave enough to face the bitter cold of the Scottish evenings there is no finer place to be than The Enchanted Forest. Every October the trees are decorated with an incredible walk through light show. Lights patter down the towering trunks, the leaves glow in every colour of the rainbow and the still lake perfectly reflects the wondrous illuminations. Along the way you will meet friendly druids to tell you tales of the wood. If you’ve ever had any questions about unicorns and the magic they posses then you might want to keep an eye out for Bob, a charming Scottish unicorn who’d be more than happy to tell you all about herself.
I was carried along the footpath by the ambient music, I smiled and said hello to other joyful visitors. You could feel the excitement and buzz whirling through the the branches and leaves. Everyone here had reverted to childhood and allowed themselves to get lost in a world full of impossible things. There are so many beautiful displays to admire that your senses are overwhelmed. When it came time to cross a bridge that was surrounded by a glowing blue waterfall I had to take a moment to calm my excitement. The evening I spent there was the most magical I have had, I never wanted to leave that bewitching place.
I returned eagerly the next year to wonder at the new displays, my mind raced with memories of my last visit. As I stepped into the woods I could sense something had changed. I was not greeted by happy people in costume, instead I was ushered along by unenthused uniformed workers. I waited for their merry greeting but was met with grunts and sighs. Although a little perturbed I continued on, hopes still high, perhaps they had tired from standing in the cold all night.
My body jittered with anticipation, soon that wore off. The displays were no where near as spectacular as last time and worst still each step of the way was scattered with health and safety warnings. “Mind your head”, “surface slippery when wet”, “beware steep drop”. How could you envision yourself exploring a land of fairies when you were being shouted at my gruff men in high visibility jackets?
Only ten minuets into my trek and I was throughly deflated and disappointed, I sluggishly dragged my feet along, occasionally stopping to see the lights. I had crashed. I had gone from the pinnacle of excitement to being dragged down to the soggy earth and just when I thought I couldn’t get any lower I realised something. The lights, to which I’d been paying little attention, were not intricate symbols of a time forgotten but where garish neon advertisements for a drinks company.
It all made sense now! The whole forest must have been acquired by a faceless company! They didn’t care about creating a magical and unforgettable experience. They just wanted to shepherd people in by the dozen, charge them through the nose and send them on their way. I was relived for a moment in this discovery, glad that there was a genuine reason for my disappointment.
Then the grief struck, the place that I had dreamt about for a year was gone. Yes the trees remained where they had always been there was still an ethereal lake at the heart of it. But the magic and love had left this place and it would never be the same. I felt empty.