Come with me! I want to take you on a journey to another world. Another time. My home is just on the other side of this portal. It’s a magical place called Forest Glen. I’ve lived there all my life.
I really want to show it off to you. Take you on a tour. You will need to use your imagination. I don’t have any maps or even a lot of pictures to show you. But what I can do, is paint a picture for you with my words.
First, close your eyes just for a little while. Pretend your lungs are like party balloons. Fill them up till they’re nearly bursting. Then let all the air rush out with a whoosh! till they’re empty. Can you do that three times?
I’d like you to do one more thing before we go. Do you think you could listen and look at this story with your heart ears and heart eyes? It will make it so much better. If you do want to, tell yourself to do just that.
Finished? OK, let’s go!
Forest Glen is a beautiful place. It is deep inside a forest. Of course! That’s why it’s called what it is. The glen bit in the name is there because it’s a hidden valley in the middle of the forest. If you were to draw the shape of it, it would look a bit like a weird tear droppy thing with a big round bottom and a skinnier wonky top bit. Running all the way down one side is a little river. We call it River.
The air is crisp and cool. Fresh. From the middle of the glen you can see the bright blue sky during the day. Sometimes there’s cotton woolly fluffs of clouds. It’s always a perfect temperature. Never too hot or too cold. It always rains at night. Snuggled warm and cosy in bed listening to the pitter patter of raindrops is one of my favourite things to do. We never, ever run out of water. And it tastes delicious. The stars at night are like a million twinkling diamonds or fireflies in the sky against a velvety black sky. I just love to sit and watch them. Forest Glen always has a festival when the moon is full and round. It’s so much fun! All the games and activities are organised by the Party Animals and the Leprechaun Clan. Catering is taken care of by Nectares Galore and Tasty Treats. So much yummy stuff!! Everyone comes of course.
Forest Glen smells wonderful. That’s because it’s filled with all the scents of the flowers, trees and other things that grow here. So of course the smell changes depending on where you are in Forest Glen. Right at the very top is The Wild Corner. Butterfly House, where I live, is there. The smell can be very earthy because of the huge trees, moss, wild mushrooms and damp vegetation on the forest floor. When you go into The Wild Garden you are immersed in the most exquisite smell of roses, lavender, lilies, jasmine, narcissus, lily of the valley, all manner of herbs and fruit. That’s my most favourite place. Out of everywhere I looked to build my new home, The Wild Corner was the one I liked the very best. There’s also a very special place in the wildest corner of The Wild Place. Mistress Hugalotte runs the Elf Nursery there. I’ll tell you all about that later. I have to say though that I do love every bit of Forest Glen of course.
All around Forest Glen is the most luscious forest of giant trees. Every possible kind you can ever imagine. It’s a good place to go by yourself if you’re feeling a bit out of sorts. Just being surrounded by the big trees, taking long deep breaths with your feet firmly on the ground is so comforting and calming. There’s tall, stately pine trees with their sharp needles and fresh smell. The cedar trees are magnificent giants. They smell so warm and soothing. Crisp and clean smelling, the eucalypts with their beautiful gnarled and peeling bark give a very different texture to the forest. And the cypress trees… oh, there’s so many more trees, I could go on for hours! Al Chemist from Lotions, Potions, Pills and Spells goes foraging there when he needs fresh ingredients for whatever he’s making. Of course he uses other things too. I grow flowers and herbs for him.
At the bottom end of Forest Glen is the lake. We call it Lake. The sparkling water is so clear you can see the pebbles on the bottom. Fish, water birds, insects, frogs, sprites and other creatures live there. And it’s the location for the Hot Spot Team that provides 24 hour emergency services when there’s a fire or floods. That hardly ever happens. But they do also respond to other emergencies as well. So do the Dragonfly Express which is based there too. They help to move all manner of things, big and small.
Not far from the Lake is the Ant Hill Herb Farm just on the outskirts of the glen. A little bit further on from there, near the middle, is Mulberry Hill. That’s where all the weavers work. Near the top, close to Wild Corner there’s a winding path. It winds its way deep into the woods. Secreted in a quiet sanctuary is The Temple of Sacred Silence. Forest Glenners go there for ceremony, solace and comfort.
The Hub is in the very middle. It’s like the business centre of Forest Glen. It has eight sides like an octagon. Each side is the location for a business pod. Starting clockwise from the top of the octagon is Forest Glen Council and Mr Big Wig’s office. He’s the Mayor. Next is Wild Life Hospital and House of Healing. They take up two pods. It’s like a one stop shop for all things needing fixing or healing. All manner of First Aid is provided by Dr Fracture’s team. Dr Wyng and his staff specialise in anything to do with wings. There’s lots of them in Forest Glen so they are always busy. Faerie Doctors and Nurses are the only ones who can use a secret formulary to treat conditions needing special attention. Then there’s The Wise Women who give sage advice. Dr Whooo provides wise counsel.
She Knows gives true telling. Angelina does elixir treatments. Yankitout removes hoaxes. The Leprechaun Clan sometimes gets up to mischief so his services are often needed around the Full Moon Festival. Dr Sooth of course offers soothsaying which is different to Krystal Ball’s fortune telling. And of course there’s Al Chemist who we’ve already talked about. Sometimes it’s necessary to call in visiting specialists if there is a very serious or mysterious condition.
The next pod is taken by the catering teams Nectares Galore and Tasty Treats. Their neighbour is the Younglin Training Centre run by Master Stern. Because the younglins can sometimes get a bit over enthusiastic the pod is right next to Prickles Patrol which provides security and protection. On their other side are the Leprechauns and Party Animals. They sometimes need to be pulled into line as you can well imagine! And the last pod is where the Hobgoblins run their business, Making Stuff. That’s the eight pods around the sides of the octagon. In the middle is Visitorium and Needaplacetostay. It’s easy for visitors to find if they are looking for information or help.
There’s lots of space inside the octagon for Forest Glenners and their visitors to sit and eat, talk, play, read, or just chill. It’s a colourful, inviting area that everyone loves to go to. It’s also where some of the activities and games of the Full Moon Festivals are held. That’s Forest Glen in a nutshell. I hope you enjoyed the tour.
Oh, there’s one more thing I need to mention. Forest Glen really is a magical place. I guess you might have figured that out by now. Except it’s even more magical than you realise. It changes depending on who is visiting! If you ever come across my friend, Buttons the Woodland Elf, you will see exactly what I mean.
© Raili Tanska
Images Pixabay and personal album