The children are playing happily engrossed in a fantasy world of fairy queens and secret dens. I wander through the woodland enjoying a brief moment of solitude. The day is cool, refreshing, as the breeze blows through the trees. I’m drawn to a clearing and I sense I am no longer alone. I creep quietly to the edge of the trees and pause hidden.
Resting back against a broad oak is a man. He doesn’t see me as I peep through the leaves. My breath catches as I take in his broad shoulders and muscular arms. He wipes his wet brow with the back of his hand and takes a deep breath, breathing in the woodland air. I too breathe deeply, smelling the sweet scent of freshly cut pine mixed with the green of crushed ferns.
I watch as he picks up an axe and steadies a large log in front of him. With one smooth arc, those strong arms swing the heavy axe down, splitting the log clean in half. A look of satisfaction flashes across his face as he places the halves back in position. Another swing, and another, tirelessly he continues until all that is left is a random pile of split logs. Resting the axe carefully against the tree, he carries them to the other side of the clearing. He arranges them, one by one on the meticulously placed stack of chopped wood. He exudes an air of calm and patience which contrasts deeply with the primal power of a few moments earlier.
I watch entranced, he is part of the woodland, rugged and wild as the logs he cuts and yet cool and calm as the breeze. My heart beats faster as I watch the muscles on his back rippling with each swing of the axe. I stay hidden, just watching, but I am desperate to go to him. I imagine wrapping my arms around his broad neck as he holds me close. I feel the prickle of his stubbly chin against my soft cheek, as our lips melt together in passion. I am lost in my daydream, the object of my desire oblivious to my presence.
Then a shout. A child’s voice from the trees beyond. My woodland man stops and turns catching sight of me. Putting down the axe, he slowly wanders towards me a cheeky smile on his face. I blush, did he read my mind? He’s close now. He reaches out and his rough fingers brush a stray curl of hair out of my eyes. I look into his slate blue eyes, with flecks of hazel that reflect the greens of the leaves above. He is so close now I can feel his warm breath on my cheek and my heart pounds. We simultaneously glance back to where the children are playing, they’re busy, unaware that I’ve even gone. Then silently we kiss under the trees, clinging to each other like teenagers, recklessly giving in to a stolen moment.
Another shout from a child rings out through the trees. We glance at each other and reluctantly pull apart with flushed cheeks and guilty smiles. Then, hand in hand, my husband and I make our way back to camp to sort out our three little rascals.