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Witchtape #29 | ‘El bosque oscuro’ by Arkadiusz
That day the little witch walked through the forest for her daily inspection round. She felt intensely happy when she saw all these species of plants and animals thriving and blending into a unique ecosystem – something which was far from being the case on the day she arrived in the forest as a child, now 10 years ago. Yet there was one part of the woods which wasn’t doing well. It was also the only section of the forest where there were traces of past human activity : concrete bunkers, trenches and craters. A peaceful being like a witch couldn’t understand what had happened, but surely some fierce fighting must have taken place there. While nature was gradually reclaiming this area and the bunkers became overgrown with moss, recovery was slow and the witch sensed the presence of some dark energy. There were still no flowers or bird’s nests or rabbit holes in that particular area. She was especially worried about the little oak tree which she planted a few months earlier in the middle of this dark section. This little tree is full of potential as it is destined to live for 1000 years and over time become one of the mother trees of the forest ecosystem, yet at that moment it was still small and fragile. But that day her attention was caught by some unusual activity around the little tree. It turned out to be a group of badgers who were digging frenetically several burrows in the ground. This filled the young witch with joy, as these were the very first badgers she ever saw in her forest. And she had heard a lot about their reputation : badgers are very peaceful when left alone, but they’ll defend themselves ferociously when they’re under threat. Even wolves avoid trouble with badgers.
The witch cautiously approached one of the badgers and greeted him politely. The animal immediately blew his whistle and within seconds all badgers converged in front of the witch, 11 in total. They seemed to know that there was a witch protecting this forest and they were very friendly towards her. The badgers explained that they wanted to settle in this forest and the witch showed her gratitude towards these ebullient animals. They even allowed her to play and cuddle with them. After a while she asked what they were digging and the leader of the badgers replied that they were constructing a sett. The witch had never heard of this word, and the animal explained that this is an elaborate system of burrows and tunnels and they are planning to use it for the next few decades. The little witch noticed that the burrows formed a near-perfect circle around the little tree and she made clear to the badgers that this tiny oak tree is destined to become a very important mother tree. When she pointed towards the tiny tree, the 11 badgers looked synchronously at it, and then synchronously back at the witch and the determined look on their faces made it clear that nothing or nobody would ever be allowed to harm that little tree. And the witch knew they would defend it with a ferocity which only badgers can harness.
And from that day onwards, the witch would come and visit the badgers every day as they continued expanding their sprawling underground complex, while the little oak tree grew everyday a little bigger in the safest place of the forest, right in the middle of the sett…
Connect with the artist :
Arkadiusz [Afterhour Sounds / KollektiV LiEBe e.V.]
Photo credits : Ondrej Prosicky
Art project of Hekske (‘Little Witch’ in my native Flemish language).
Witches are the guardians of the forests. We’re not evil or dark, just a bit shy. And even surprisingly sweet and kind… as long as you respect the forest.
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