Simona D'Auria

Dedicated to all forest freaks

We are the tribe of the forest freaks, the ones that belong to the woods. Don't call us tree huggers, there is more to it.
The uppermost part of a dead birch tree with creepy gnarly branches laying on the mossy ground of a dark forest
Fascinating gnarly spooky branches

Hi everybody 💚!

This post is dedicated to all forest freaks!

I know it has been a while since my last post and I know that I am still not good enough to keep up with my blog here, not as regularly as I wished …

But, I have not being lazy!

Actually, I am working hard on two other projects that will hopefully contribute to my work with art and nature and my purpose of inspiring more and more people to enjoy the benefits of a deep connection with it.

I hope I’ll soon be ready to announce their finalization ….

In the meantime, I will publish here my Instagram posts too which are definitely more frequent as it takes a little less time to produce them.

What’s important I guess, is that I manage to take you in the beautiful natural world as often as possible … so for now IG posts will also do.

Just today I posted a tribute to all forest freaks, my tribe!

I was walking in the forest last week on a dull overcast day, thinking that I definitely wouldn’t be able to get a shot for the stock agencies as I was supposed to do. The forest that day looked too dark, harsh and unpleasant, even a little spooky, at least to the “normal eye”. In short, it wasn’t really fit for a commercial pic. And as stock agencies are still and often my main income, I had decided to go for my plan B and move out of the forest looking for more suitable scenarios.

On my way back to the car though, I met a beautiful fallen tree, and it was really love at first sight! So much so that I forgot the stock agencies, my earnings, my plan B and everything else, and I just started taking pictures of it.

You can see it in all its somewhat spooky beauty at the top of the page and here below in two other compositions that I don’t like as much as the first one though …

A giant dead birch tree fallen on the mossy ground of a spooky dark forest
First stage of a new beginning

I couldn’t help but being close to that tree! I walked around it, sat on it, touched it, admired its textures, dimension, character, mood, its features, everything attracted me immensely!

Sitting there alone, in total silence except for the whispers of the forest, I started thinking why I was so fascinated by what many people would just call a dead tree. Actually a somewhat creepy dead tree.

And why I am fascinated as well by moss mounds, the shape of a leaf, the texture of the bark on a tree trunk, the movement of a branch, the smell of the conifer?

Why I more than often feel a strong desire to lay down on the ground, be wrapped in the forest soil, be part of it?! Where is this longing coming from?

Is it something that has to do with my genes, is it a physical ancestral call? Or just a contemporary psychological need?

Of course my brain does not know the answers, but my gut can surely say that I belong to the forest, exactly like a surfer belong to the sea or a climber to the mountains.

I know a lot of people out there wouldn’t even understand the reason of my wondering, the point of it. I know that just a niche of people would get that weird feeling that takes me back to the forest, making me feel ill whenever I m far from it for too long.

I am probably what many would call a “tree hugger”🙄 I don’t like it, don’t like the tone that it’s generally used when tree hugger is pronounced. There’s a lot more to it.

If anything, I would rather be called a forest freak. And I know I am one of many … therefore, I have decided to dedicated my post to all forest freaks out there, probably looking for some company and understanding.

And here is my IG post.

“Dedicated to all forest freaks! Who else would actually appreciate such a somewhat creepy image of a fallen tree, shot almost in the dark on a day with no light, no fog, under an uninteresting overcast sky?

We do. We are the ones that don’t just take walks in the forests, we live them, feel them in our bones, connect with them like our limbs had extensions going deeply in their ground. Exactly like this tree, that has just started a long disintegration process, its particles returning to be part of the soil.

It’s a weird feeling, this total connection, difficult to explain and to understand if you were not born in it. A mix between a kind of Stendhal syndrome that can arise from just looking at a stump, and a physical need to be part of the whole environment, like you were made of it.

You can feel the mood of a forest, you know when it’s healthy and happy or sad and exploited, because you feel the same while walking in it. You know that every forest is different, because you feel different when you live it. You can’t miss from the woods for too long. You need to return to them like you need to breathe.

That’s a forest freak to me, and a thousand more feelings that you can surely add on.

But nope, something that cannot be reduced to being called a “tree hugger”😉😁”

Perspective view of a tree fallen on the mossy ground of a forest on a moody day
Fallen tree horizontal view

So?! Are you also a fellow member of the forest freaks tribe??

I would love to hear about your connection with the magic woods and your experience!

Well! I’ve finally definitely written more than an IG post …! It’s stronger than me, once I start it’s difficult to stop! I love writing about nature and my connection with it almost as much as taking pictures of it or making drawings…

I hope I’ll be able to post again soon. In the meantime, enjoy as much nature as you can! Sit under a tree, push your feet to the ground and just breathe, be, and listen. You are nature, so go back to it! And yes, the weekend is almost here ….. !

Until next time,

Big hug from a forest freak 🐾🦉🦌🌲🌿


Simona D'Auria

Hi! My name is Simona and I am a photographer and an illustrator in love with the natural world.

I live in Sweden in a small village on the forest hills, where I moved a few years ago leaving behind the busy city of London to pursue my artistic activity. ​This has been a long time dream that I eventually managed to fulfil. I have never regretted it!​​

Nature is my only place to be, hiking my way to explore it and photography is one of the means I use to record the fantastic stories I am so lucky to witness during my excursions. Many of these stories also turn into graphics or illustrations.