My New Life Under a Pile of Sticks in the Woods, by Jeremy Freeze

The fresh, clean air. The sound of birds chirping. I gotta tell ya, nothing beats living under a pile of sticks in the woods. Now, I’ve lived under my fair share of piles (a pile of shoes at the gym, a pile of onions at a different gym), but living under a pile of sticks, way out in the woods, really takes the cake. When I first told my friends and family about my decision to move from my comfortable home to the woods (and under a pile of sticks, no less!), they understandably had some reservations. But some people just don’t appreciate the feeling of being out in nature, off the grid, and under a pile of something.

Yes, I think it’s safe to say that the city life just isn’t for me. For one thing, the buildings are way too tall. Either that, or they end up being far too short. And of course there are a fair number of medium‐sized buildings, which I’m not particularly fond of. But maybe worst of all is the fast-paced, hustle-and-bustle lifestyle. I mean, you can’t even sit down on the sidewalk, swinging your arms around and punching everyone in the legs, without someone coming up and asking you to move it along. And if you’re thinking about trying to take a nap in the middle of a large, busy intersection, you might as well forget about it. Sure, you get used to getting run over all the time, but all that honking can make you dream about some pretty frightening things. Like a honking skeleton.

To be honest, though, the woods can also be quite scary at night (and terrifying in the day), and the sticks scratch my skin and are almost always poking me in the eyes and teeth. Besides all that, I’m convinced that some of the woodland creatures are demons in disguise, as they’re constantly speaking to me in the voices of my loved ones, whispering strange incantations and humming hypnotic melodies. And sometimes the sticks poke me in the dick.

In my quieter, more reflective moments, when I’m not fighting off bears or trying to attract bears to fight off raccoons, I imagine people asking me if I ever get lonely, living in the woods, under this pile of sticks. And I always picture myself telling them the same thing: Of course I do. Cripplingly lonely. But would I change a thing? Well, yes, I suppose I would. Everything, actually. At least everything regarding the woods and this stick pile, that’s for sure.

But I suppose at this point I’m just too set in my ways to change. I may fear and despise these woods (not to mention the pile [the stick pile, that is]), but they’re the only woods and pile of sticks I’ve ever known. And call me old-fashioned, but that still means something to me. These kids today, when faced with circumstances that make them profoundly unhappy, all too often try to enact positive change to make for themselves a life that they find enjoyable and satisfying. Well, these fickle youth may have lost their way, but not me! So if you need me, I’ll be right here, under this pile of sticks in the woods, muttering a language that long ago lost any semblance to English and furiously attempting to massage some life back into my heavily infected legs.

Jeremy Freeze is a writing man currently living in Japan. If you’d like to see more of his writing, please check out acquaintancemag.com or follow him on Twitter.

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My New Life Under a Pile of Sticks in the Woods, by […]