Walking through the thick woods with only a lantern to guide one’s actions is an exercise in working with nerves. While I only speak for myself, deep woods make me nervous whether it be day or night. It’s the kind of pervading, unsettled feeling where the hair on the back of your neck is imperceptibly raised in caution. However, this feeling is what I seek the woods for.
I find my best ideas are had when looking for an opening through the trees ahead only to find I had opened a space in my mind that I don’t always know is there. It’s a creative, intelligent, wandering part of my quiet existence that is an experience to explore in and of itself. For this reason, I feed from the reservoirs of serenity and pristine scenes before me hungrily as if starving from the lack of living energy around me. In my dorm room, I have a few plants and pictures of the wild spaces I love and yet it could never compare to the diversity of life found in the beat of a forest, the swell of an ocean, or the quiet, wise nature of the open desert. And since this is the case, I yearn to leave the boxes I find myself in and stride out into the world ahead of me, seeking those things that make my soul rise up with a honorable sense of unity with the land. When I am more man than animal, I realize the statement that I am only human weighs heavily on my mind, because I know not with any certainty what that means. But by and by the times I am more animal than the man inside, the simplicity of life draws me into its webs and welcomes me into the worlds of living organisms that have been here long before I was.
The careful crawl of beetles on the underbrush, the snakes weaving, winding coils to its prey as it follows the heat imprinted on its tongue, these are the things that the body feels when the woods are quiet, untouched, and clean. Man is at his best when he is himself the least. In those moments we feel the entanglement of all powerful energies working in tandem and are pulled into the flow of life as surely as one is pulled into the white water of a river as it pushes through canyons and wears ever deeper the chasm it has created. Alas, that is the water’s right, not our own. If there should ever come a day when man finds himself a relative of the wild spaces, then perhaps we will all find that the dinner tables are always filled with the beauty of that sense of understanding in the form of gifts bestowed by the families around us.
In the quiet woods, there is companionship, respect, and understanding. It is the human fault for their ability to ignore these things. But all is not lost.
Leave the homes, the cars, the rooms, the Wal-Marts, and step into the outdoors where time neither ceases nor slows as the earth spins, but rushes headlong into the Present where the presence of a well-oiled mind reaps all the benefits of a clean forest.
A young writer and photographer who loves the outdoors with a significant passion. I believe that what the environment needs is people who have a close relationship with the land through the things they do out there. Check out all TheOutLife social media avenues and feel free to send some feedback!