One must travel east beyond the central Forestlands in order to reach true forests, untouched in the last century. Past the Rtanj gate, a peculiar bioregion lies hidden that stretches all the way to the mighty Danube. Hilly and wooded, it is abundant in rain and fog, but also in droughts. The fertile ground stimulates a variety of species to sprout with hope each spring, but allows only the hardiest of them to survive and find peace in a kind of energy that can hardly be felt elsewhere.
As there are fewer people in this part of the country each year, the woods felt this to be their last chance of letting their whispers go to those who want to hear them. Young, and old, soft citizens and staunch peasants… the invitation is equally open to all who will listen.
The call of the forest is strongest at its edge, where trees brush with other ecosystems. Where the lines between two worlds are blurred. Where human ears can’t discern between the laughter of fairies in the distance from the laughter of leaves in the wind. Where time passes more slowly, and occasionally stops.
Take some time to walk around such a place casually and aimlessly, this edge between worlds. Look into the depths where the branches intertwine, and where only the Kukurek manages to grab the light of the Sun’s rays, albeit briefly, before the darkness of the forest canopy consumes the forest floor.
Take a deep breath. Let your lungs fill with pheromones, pollen, spores and other gifts of the forest that are now floating in your bloodstream and caressing your cells. Without hesitation, turn towards the forest and resolutely enter it.
Follow the slope downhill and observe those that you brush past. Which of them live on windswept heights, and which of them prefer the dark, wet valleys? Names and categories have no purpose here. Each individual is a story unto itself, completely unique and completely connected to all the other stories around it.
A forest slope inevitably leads to a stream. The most powerful of which are the small, winding, forest streams, full of rotten branches. Uninteresting and too chaotic for the eye that is not accustomed to seeing details. These are the kinds of streams through which nature manifests its masterpieces.
Take off your shoes and head barefoot into the stream. If it’s winter, then take off your shoes and head barefoot into the stream. Running water used to freeze in this part of the world, but now such events rarely occur outside of old stories.
Thick wet moss delightfully welcomes your feet into the world of water. The first step is sharp, but the second one feels more familiar. Connect yourself steadily to the ground as the water flows around your ankles, while you relax the rest of your body and allow the senses to receive messages that have been exchanged since the beginning of time. No analysis, no expectations – only recipience.