Forest Adventures

For almost a week me and my flatmate have been struggling to get out of bed before 12. With the snow gone, we don’t have much drive in the mornings now that skiing and snowboarding is out of the picture. But we had a friend leaving soon and we had organised a small fair well, which involved getting up 9am.  

The plan was to go down to the lake, with a keg of beer and plenty of food to barbecue while we soak up the spring sunshine. 

I’m fortunate enough to know a chef that lives on the floor below me, and while I relaxed in golden rays, he cooked me up the kind of food you’d die for. Skewers with a variety of juicy vegatables and small bits of medium rare fillet steak. If there’s one thing the French know how to do, it’s make bread. Baguettes were passed around and sandwiches made. Everyone was in good spirits, some rock climbing the cliff face not too far from the lake, others playing football on the grass amd some just sat and enjoyed the pleasant weather. Dogs played in the water, only coming out it seemed, to shake themselves dry next to as many people as possible. But nobody cared and by three in the afternoon, semi-drunken conversations floated around about what the plan for the night was. 

Eventually, after much slurred discussion, we had mapped out and organized a fool-proof mini party in the woods. Time was of the essance and the barbecue was quickly packed away and off we went. 

There was a quick changeover before heading off for the night. Those that didn’t think they’d last until the first morning bus at 7:30am brought sleeping gear, others just put on a hoodie, I grabbed a wardrobes worth of warm clothes and stuffed them into a bag. A few hours later we were stumbling up the path into the forest. 

The sound of voices ahead of us grew louder, and as if by magic, as I lifted my head, the cabin appeared in front of me. I had never seen it, but had been told all about it. It was quite amazing. Complete with two floors, a kitchen, living area, bedroom, electricity, a terrace and a clearing with a fire pit, the cabin was built by hand over 6 years by a man who turned 21 four weeks ago. Impressive, to say the least.

Within minutes a group of around 40 of us had congragated in the clearing in front of the cabin. Two HUGE speakers had been hiked up and music started to flood the spaces between the trees. 

Various illicit substances were passed around, I won’t say whether I had any. We danced rythmically near the fire, each person adopting their own style. Shadows flickered on the trees and stars lit up the night sky. Surrounded by my friends, I couldn’t have felt much more content.

As the night continued, the drinks did too, and the drugs, and it became evident that an accident was waiting to happen. A bunch of young adults, on the side of a mountain, dancing mere feet away from a raging fire, their thinking impaired, how could it possibly last. 

And then it happened. The fire pit was placed at the bottom of a small drop, maybe 3 feet high. When the flames died down, you were able to sit on the edge, the burning embers still releasing extreme heat, so much so that you couldn’t last long in that spot before being forced to move by the heat. A boy got up to move and his foot slid out and dropped over the edge. With it, the rest of him followed.

Sparks exploded into the air as he landed on his back with a thud. The response was instant, in what I’d say was under a second, but others begged to differ, he had been yanked out of the fire. I was close by and without thinking a rushed to put out the patches of his jacket that were alight or had cinders burning through. 
Quickly we assessed the damage. apart from a knock to the head, a “10 pound jacket from Primark” and a feeling of shock and disbelief, he appeared to be unscathed. However, painful burns just above his underwear line and on his left hand would sadly be discored the next day. 

Once the drama had come to an end, a new vibe had over taken the group. The music calmed down and everyone intimately shared stories and reminisced on the Winter season. The sky had started change slowly. From a pitch black, sprinkled with shining stars, to a deep purple and then a blue. 

My flatmate came up to me and asked to leave. It was only 6:00am but the first bus only came past at 7:30 and the walk was a good two hours, I wanted to stay. But looking at the expression of the face infront of me, I knew it needed to get away from this place. And so, we began the pointless walk home, knowing that we’d be getting a bus at the same time, just a different place. 

I apologise for the bad quality photo and snapchat filter, I wasn’t in the right state of mind for photography. Which really annoys me because the landscape is undoubtedly picturesque, the lighting was perfect for it and I really wish I could share the indescribable things I saw that night with the rest of the world.


I am Charlie Miller

I was advised by an old friend to start writing a diary, instead of continuously venting all my problems to her. After a complicated few weeks, we are no longer speakig anymore and so without my ventilation buddy, I’ve decided to try blogging.

Charlie Miller is a pseudonym. The idea is to use this unisex (Charlotte) name to keep my gender and identity private. I am 18. I live in South Africa, however I left home alone and have been living in France since December. My current occupation is cleaning a coffee shop.

The last thing I’d like to include in my first post is that I have depression. For those that don’t know, depression is a mental disease. There’s no reason why I have it, it’s just there and always has been. The main struggles I face with my depression are inspiration and drive. I feel emotionally flat. I struggle to make myself heard in groups of new people, even friends. I am morbidly shy.

As someone that never “opens up”, the idea of this blog is to share my feelings anonymously, with the hope that this will lift the weight I have on my shoulders of the hidden life I lead inside my head. At the same time I’d like to use this as a journal and write about my experiences and everyday struggles and pleasures. Hopefully one day, I can look back at this blog and see how far I’ve come in my journey. From one of my most unhappy moments, a few days ago, here in France, to a more confident, fulfilled, social, and generally a happier person.

It’s going to be a long and bumpy ride.