Nature heals. Despite our efforts to contain, conquer, dominate, and take everything we can from her, she remains steadfast in her cycles, in her growth, in her death. When we allow ourselves to just be in nature without motives and goals and demands, there is a natural acceptance. We become part of the bigger picture. I can not imagine a better state of inner peace.
Thus when we feel inside stirred, in turmoil, anxious, what could be more soothing than being in nature? Not sitting on your front porch and staring at it, or taking a Sunday drive and seeing it fly by your windows. That’s not quite it, but that is a start. Get off the porch or out of the car, and go out to the woods and walk. Or down to the stream to fish. Or up to the mountains alone and then sit and listen. She is never far away, but we often don’t look. I have even seen magnificent sun sets that sooth the soul while sitting on the west piers of NYC. No one else was there to see it, or no one stopped to see.
My need for nature and solitude is strong. When I become restless, I go out – on horseback, on snow shoe, on foot. I do not need goals or motives. I just go. It is not important that with each step I get closer to an objective. It is more that with each step I am farther away. Climb yet another nameless peak in our big back yard, one where I can be absolutely certain I would not see another human being. No path, no trails, no tracks except perhaps from coyotes and rabbits. A group of chickadees excited to see me, and one single grey jay surprisingly indifferent to my presence.
I would like to share with you today a poem written by a friend, Dick Sederquist. This poem is from a book compiled of Dick’s writings entitled “Hiking Out,” a collection of short stories and essays “from the heart, about family, friendship, adventure, hiking, travel, overcoming adversity, surviving depression, about forgiveness and moving on.” If you have a moment when you’re done reading this, please take a look at his web site at http://www.hikingout.com/ . In the meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this, and hope you remember the healing powers of nature.
I plunge downhill avoiding
the spruce traps that could suck you in
and discharge you next spring.
My snowshoes are like skis.
I am floating 10 feet above where I would stand in summer.
I stop and sink and sit.
Silence, my son looks back and sits himself.
No words, none needed, I feel the chill on my legs.
I see the vast gulf below me, two hours ago I was looking up
wading up this deep hill, my face almost touching the snow
wondering if we’d find the summit.
Now we are going back down to where we started
an endless cycle of discovery.
The summit was there, it looked like the highest point,
but it was nothing compared to the up and the down
and the pause above this gulf with my son.
Written and with permission by Dick Sederquist,