The Island


What really struck me about Johnson’s woods was its location, its sense of place within the wider environment. For most of our drive, I stared out the window, in particular I noticed when the bike path just outside of town started and then abruptly stopped a mile or so later. Helpful. Passing though Smithville and the other neighborhoods that line the highway, it was clear that we were going into the more rural expanses of northeast Ohio. These fields are flat, agricultural land, producing great quantities of corn and soy. They dominate their prospective fields and are sometimes graced with a proud chemical sign alluding to the their genetic make up.

Once we could see the great expanse of foliage ahead of us, I was quite astonished. Not to say it was a new sight to my eyes, but the view itself, the contrast of the woods with its surroundings, really struck me. The great Hickories and Oaks of enormous height towered over us as we passed through the green tunnel. And then we reached the other side. I realized why this felt so strange. Here was a forest “untouched” through the ages, a survivor, now isolated and trapped within this feat of progress, modern agriculture. What kind of forest is this anyway?