Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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The God in the Woods

Really, those woods saved my life.

Fourteen is hard. When home and school grew too much to bear, I turned to the woods. I'd walk the paths there, and the storm within would still. And when I left the woods I knew that, no, to live was better.

At first the woods were mine and I walked them fearlessly, but only by day. By night they belonged to themselves, and I feared to go there. To carry a light would have been a profanation, and I feared to walk in the dark.

But then I learned what still can't help but seem a metaphor.

Bare feet will always manage to find a path in the dark.


Take off the shoes and walk. Then you will disappear, and there will be only the woods.

And the god that lives in the woods.

Of this, I will say no more. (Some things are not for telling.) But for me, it changed everything.


This much I will tell: there is a god that lives in the woods.

And this: bare feet will always manage to find a path in the dark.






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Tagged in: forest woods
Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Saturday, 16 April 2016

    When my family moved back to Richmond in '72 there were woods in back of the house. I was 13 at the time and the woods were great. The woods were not developed into suburban homes until the 1980's, I was very lucky to have them.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Sunday, 17 April 2016

    Growing up in the suburbs has its advantages, access to the wild being one of them.
    I was back in western PA recently visiting family, and was struck yet again, as I always am, by just how much wild space there is in the midst of the city itself: all those wooded hillsides that are too steep to build on
    And where the wild is, there He will be.

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