Fragments From The Forest, Part 1 – Touching Wood

Do you ever ‘touch wood’ for luck?
Perhaps when you have been a bit boastful, or ‘pushed your luck’ too far, or want success for some future venture, do you look for a piece of wood to touch, just in case it might help? This superstition is quite common and many people do, and quite a few others while not actually touching wood, will say ‘touch wood’ for the same reasons. Then there are some people who, if they cannot find any wood in this plastic world, will alleviate their anxiety by touching their heads, saying or implying that things will be alright because their ‘head is made of wood’. For others the problem is solved by carrying a small piece of wood with them all the time.
I can certainly remember as a schoolboy along with many of my classmates rapping the underside of the oak tip-up seat of my school desk with my knuckles for luck, particularly just before tests or examinations. I must have hoped that in some way it might compensate for the lack of revision that I should have done. Why the underside I was never quite understood, perhaps it was because the underside was raw wood , unsullied by years of polishing and therefore more powerfully connected to nature and those forces that we hoped would supply the luck. The underside of the desk was plywood and therefore did not count as ‘real’ wood.