I was hiking in the winter woods
Among my top 5 favorite things along with
2) walking in a city, finding my way,
3) riding ocean waves or river on belly, board, or boat,
4) preparing food in a quiet kitchen fully content chopping, stirring, spicing and tasting, then sharing that food with people I love, and
5) making a love out of a stranger
The above is an excerpt from a poem I wrote in Baltimore, fully aware of my privilege. You can read it here.
When I was hiking in the winter woods on Friday last, it was a forced action upon remembering this stanza of this poem. After driving around all day, and feeling a little overwhelmed by my plan for 2018, I realized my desire for connection had less to do with wanting affection and more to do with finding stillness in nature.
“I go among the trees and sit still” – Wendell Berry
I reread this line
Slower each time
The only place I am guaranteed to find sober freedom
I jotted these lines in my journal last night, another reminder of the peace I find in the woods.
In the Woods
On Friday, I had about 30 minutes. I drove to the nearby state park to be alone among the pines. There was, just at my turn around point, a tree heavy laden with powdery snow beginning to melt. The moisture bearing down on it so it arched above the path, above my dog.
"Heaven laden," I heard myself say. I felt that way. And in the same moment I jabbed at my emotions for being all wrong and told them they should be gratitude instead.
Truth is, I have everything I need.
I am aware that I can get by and and quite on very little income. People are my currency, and there are so many with whom I share an equal love exchange.
But I battle this feeling of not-enoughness almost daily. Feeling heavy laden with some sort of out of sync agitation that tempts me to seek what I need from the people rather than nature.
Here's the thing. People are fantastic. I love people. Maybe you don't, that's fine, but I do. I frickin' LOVE people.
My problem is, that I will inevitably choose people over silence, outward connection over stillness, conversation over sitting among the trees, any day, given the choice, if I'm not grounded, or jolted awake by saying something that reminds me of a poem I wrote to which I must pay attention.
I moved to the mountains to find love
Yea, I'll admit it
I was seeking romance
Romance with the mountains
To be absorbed by them
Stand in their midst
Like a sponge filling completely with their wildness
Nature never fails to provide exactly what I need
Her beauty, unmatched
the most secure friendship
I haven't enough of her lately
In the mystery of human attraction
I've neglected the mysticism of nature
Nature never disappointments
Sure there are storms
Sometimes she's so cold
all I can bear to do is cozy up on the couch
I see this as her way of hugging me tightly
But it's not stormy today
And so time to climb her side