The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
Strange Fruit, Billie Holiday
Aokigahara Forest, at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan, and the setting for my newest project. Wild, overgrown and haunted. Apparently the trees are so dense that parts of the forest are in total darkness, even when the sun is at its peak. The wind cannot breathe through the canopy, and the forest is eerily vacant of birds and animals. In the 19th century, it was said that those stricken by poverty and famine practiced ubasute, leaving their elderly relatives and children in the woods to die. Aokigahara is populated by their spirits. It is also the location of over one hundred suicides each year, giving it the second highest rate of suicides after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. The boughs of the trees are strung with nooses, and signs mark the pathways urging those who wander them to consider their lives before taking them. There is something poetic, a sad kind of beauty, about this verdant, primeval paradise marked by centuries of human tragedy.
This is the story that has been keeping me awake at night, urging me to put it down on paper, and it’s the first time for a while that I’ve had such a clear idea of where I want a project to go. I will have a snippet up for y’all to read in the next couple of days :)
(Photos from http://www.travelx.com/photos/aokigahara-japan/)