Saturday, December 8, 2012

Humbled

I have returned to the woods. Some of you reading this know that I come out of the woods in the early spring when deer ticks awaken, and return in the late fall, early winter, when they become mostly dormant. I sometimes wonder if this cycle is for a bigger reason; would I explore as much in the winter if the season did not provide me with this suspended-tick window?

I am humbled by the beauty of the woods. Even on days like today, when I feel chilly and unmotivated to bundle up, when I finally do, and get myself out the door, gratitude instantly melts away the chills. Today, though the daylight was grey all around me, all I could see were beautiful colors and patterns. Nature is so elegant.


Culturally, December is an ornate season, filled with glitzy trappings, yet I find the most florid decor on walks in the woods, as if it was placed by sentient beings for the sheer pleasure of me discovering it. Even things that would not be traditionally considered beautiful, are. It is the energy of the woods that provides me with this sensuous experience. I am certain of it. 


In the woods I am alone yet more connected that ever. The trees remind me of that as I trod upon their roots, knowing that each is joined to another in an endless web buried deeply within the earth. Too, their canopy seems to connect the vast space of sky. The trees remind me to reach.


I often refer back to a dream I had where a beautiful tree sailed toward me in a rushing river, and I was frantic thinking I needed to capture it, to place it as a work of art in my home. I could not capture it, but has the artful tree not captured my heart hundreds of times as I walk the forest? Indeed it has.




It is hard to put into words just how much the woods and the walks have changed me, but that has been the mission of my writing about the walks all along. So I try. In a way I have become less tolerant of pretense and more impatient by inauthenticity. My walks in nature have challenged me to both reach higher and dig deeper, and in them I have found my true calling.