Column Chronicles
Out of the woods, an essay
Frank Cotolo
August 4, 2022
To be "out of the woods" is where everyone wants to be, for to be out of the woods is to be safe and sound and healthy and unthreatened.
Why? Because the woods is a dangerous place to be, even though you are almost out of danger if you are almost out of the woods, but for sure, unless you get out of the woods, you can still come to the greatest harm that could come to you if you are in the woods.
This is why people say, "We're not out of the woods, yet." They are saying there is still danger; still chances that bad things will happen because of being in the woods (that is, not out of the woods).
People never say they are in the woods when they are in the woods, they only make mention of the woods when someone may insinuate that they are out of the woods.
The woods represent a tough place to tread because in woods there is never a clear path out, since there are trees and bushes and rocks and holes and wild animals. There is danger is everywhere you turn in the woods.
In fairy tales, bad witches live in the woods. Witches did not have condominiums or apartments or single family homes (attached or detached). Witches helped make the woods dangerous. Along with wild animals and natural hurdles, witches were one of the reasons never to go into the woods.
The most unusual thing about the woods, of course, is that you can be in the woods and not physically be in the woods. The woods can place you in them when you find your life is in danger, that is, when you find there are suddenly obstacles in your life, big, troublesome, ugly, harmful obstacles that are called other things - like disease.
If you are in good health and all of a sudden you have a disease, you are in danger, the kind of danger that can harm you and you have to fight that danger until the disease does not kill you. While you are fighting the disease you either make progress or it brings you down.
When you are making progress - winning your health over the disease - before you win you have to disregard how much better you are feeling until you win entirely, and until you defeat the disease it keeps you in the woods, where you can still lose. At that point, anyone would say, "You might be doing very well but you are not out of the woods, yet."
Frank Cotolo can be found hosting the talk and interview programme Cotolo Chronicles. You can send him an e-mail at this address:
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