I had given Dad my copy of the film Into the Woods months ago and he attempted to watch it in his final days. I’m not sure how much we was awake for, but he remembered most of it and said he liked it. This musical has captivated me since it was first staged on Broadway nearly thirty years ago. As a then young theatre major, a new work by Stephen Sondheim was astonishing and intriguing. For me it has always been a story of perspective and how we don’t fully understand our interconnectedness. The song “No One is Alone” exemplifies this leitmotif when they sing, “witches can be right, giants can be good, you decide what’s right, you decide what’s good.” This twisted tale gives us the basis for every child’s tale told while reminding us that “wishes are children” and that “children will listen” to everything we say.
The Wood is the central character, the forest, thick and dense representing all that is Life. At home all is safe, yet one step into the wild and who knows what will happen. It is only together we can overcome the Wood and survive. “Sometimes people leave you, half way through the Wood.” I’ve lost a lot in the Wood this year, I stagger as the thickest of its foliage envelopes me deep in its darkness. It all rushes toward me as the year swiftly ends and the sun stops its decent from the sky. I long for the Light and search for it every day.
I shared a lot of experiences with my father and mother as we traveled though our woods. Now I feel trapped in torpidity and hebetude without them. With them gone I have been entrusted with a new responsibility, the care of Grandmother. I feel like “Little Red” arriving at grannies and not only is there a wolf, there is also a Bull & Bear too! Never underestimate the power of the Wood, it is always changing. It’s how we chose to navigate that Wood which defines us.