The Unbearable Fluidity of Being
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Illustration by Joanna Grochocka
Nature

The Unbearable Fluidity of Being

A Wet Trip to the Forest
Szymon Drobniak
Reading
time 10 minutes

Go out, find a forest, sit in a clearing, look around. What do you see? Water, water everywhere.

Behind me, a forest. The dark walk, it grows almost audibly, gets entangled and stuck with new layers of plants, tendrils, deaths, tracks. It is the end of May, apart from all of this the forest attacks me with smells. If I had sat here a fortnight earlier, it would have smelled of wild garlic, wet and sharp like freshly washed chives. Yet wild garlic is gone, its leaves now lie at the bottom of the forest, a carpet of dead tissue growing yellow. In this slimy, yellowish rotting, wild garlic does not die. Its leaves have been amputated, they are not needed anymore. Caressed by the rain of sunny photons, their chloroplasts have produced enough life-giving sugars for the plants to bloom, to fructify before the end of spring, before the canopy of the trees’ leaves cuts them off from the sun for the rest of the spring and summer. The garlic’s embryonic plants will one day try to grow from the seeds, and the garlic’s fathers-cum-mothers will fall asleep in their underground bulbs and wake up next year in the spring, fed with this sunny sugar. There is no more smell of garlic in the woods. Now you can smell the May lily of the valley, it comes at you in lazy waves, wafting to the wet meadow where I’m sitting. Perfumed with the heavy fragrance, the forest behind me is simpering and cosying up to me.

I sit like this every year, it is a part of my job. And every year I take these waves of forest fragrance in with the same – and

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