Yesterday, I ventured into the woods with my sister, Maisie, Maisie's nice friend, and Maisie's loudmouthed friend. Here's the thing - I'd never been in a forest of any kind. I'm from New York. Bryant Park is forest enough for me. I was excited! It was gonna be an adventure! I was gonna get to sing Sondheim songs! So off we went, without cell phones, food, or flashlights, while my sister worried over the rain and I sang Into the Woods and stopped every two feet to snap a picture.
I felt so earthy and bohemian. Imagine, strolling through the woods around the edge of a lake without a cell phone! It didn't matter that it was a nature trail and there were markings on the trees. I was still having fun. After a while, though, it started drizzling, and we lost sight of the lake. My sister started to cry because she wanted to double back. I, however, insisted that we all soldier bravely on, although my own confidence was starting to waver a little. It was getting dark, and the ground was muddy. The trail was starting to get overgrown with trees and shrubbery, and Maisie fell down a hill and hurt her knee. Suppressing the panic that was quickly welling up in me, I focused my energy on comforting my sister, who was thoroughly displeased with our situation. Nobody had a cell phone. People were gonna start to worry. The dingoes were gonna descend upon us at any given moment.
As we kept going, I nursed the realization that all those shows that use the woods as romantic, exotic symbols are utter bullcrap. Melchior and Wendla were not lying under a tree. Sally and Brian were not discussing the baby. Claude and Jeanie were not smoking pot among the ferns. Nobody was trying to sell a cow for a handful of magic beans. I was emotionally shattered. Really. Just decimated. It was, however, a Flesh Failures moment. "We starve/Look at one another/Short of breath/Walking proudly in our winter coats..." Life was, actually, around us and in us. But I was still scared as hell. It was cold, darkening, and rainy, like at the end of Lord of the Flies. How could we be sure that an angry mob of British boys wasn't gonna ambush us? The possibilities were practically endless.
When we finally made it back, people swarmed us like we had been missing for years. Here's the thing. We'd been gone for all of a half hour, and we were all basically unscathed, aside from Maisie's bleeding knee.
So I've been through the woods. It wasn't fun. It wasn't like the musical. I don't like nature very much. And I guess that's it.