Deep in the woods there is a sofa. Or at least the remains of a sofa. At some point, someone hauled it into the forest and left it. I wonder sometimes why. Was it discarded? Trash? If so, why did they bring it so far in the woods? There’s no road here and the sofa once was large and heavy. It would have been quite the job to bring here.
Or was it brought here to give someone a sitting place? A soft place to sit in the woods. A private retreat, comfort in the forest.
And why here? If it was refuse, why go to the trouble of coming so far from the road? Why not just drag it a bit in the brush, just out of sight, and leave it? If it was a retreat, why here? There’s no overlook. No creek. No particular vista to relish as you sit on the cushions in comfort. A hundred yards earlier along the path there is a far more lovely spot. Why here?
I wonder how long ago it was. The sofa is half rotted now. The fabric has split open and foam, once white, now dirty and gray, spills out on the ground. The springs are exposed and they have been for a long time. They are pitted with rust.
Looking up, I can see a squirrel’s nest. Sticks and reeds and yes, pockets of grey foam make up the sides and bottom. I smile at that, imaging a squirrel lounging inside with his pipe and a brandy on his sofa, made of this ruined sofa here on the ground.
The sofa is useless now. Every cushion has split apart. It has fallen backwards, it’s legs poking out in the air. They were once finished dark, maybe walnut, but again time has worked it’s runation. The wood is exposed and here and there shows signs of rot.
A family of mice has made the sofa their home. They scurry away as I approach. And then, when I stop and stand still for a time, they decide I am harmless and they slowly reenter the dark doorway and disappear into the foam. I imagine it is a good home, warm in the winter. Insulated like few mouse houses ever are.
On a tree down the path, I see strands of fabric, A bird perhaps has dropped them there, or maybe a child hiking in the woods before me. The strips and tendrils hang on the branches of a young tree like art, color in the woods that have not yet blossomed into spring.
At one end of the sofa’s carcass, some sort of vine has crept and begun to cover the frame. As much as I love to hike and love the woods, my knowledge of the plants that live there is not very good. I have no idea what the vine is, only that it looks healthy. I briefly wonder how long it will be before the whole sofa is swallowed by the vines and disappears.
That’s what happens when we are abandoned and neglected. We become something else. The sofa was made for one thing. Now, in it’s abandonment, it has become all these other things. Are the new things better or worse than it’s intended purpose? I don’t know. I do know that when the people who dragged this weighty behemoth of a sofa into the woods, they did not intend that it become all these things. They simply left it here, out of their lives and out of their sight. They did not care what became of it.
It is much the same with people. People are abandoned and thrown away. All too often. Some just rot and disappear. Victim. Others are reclaimed and restored. And others? They become something else entirely. Improbably survivors. Recycled souls. Something new. Neither better or worse, Simply different. And often unnoticed. I see myself in this sofa and suddenly it is not an eyesore, but an inspiration.
Be well. Travel wisely