Growing up in rural, small town, midwestern farm country I discovered the joy of outdoor life from the moment I was born. It wasn’t unusual for my mother to find me perched under a tree or lying in the field already dreaming about the characters I needed to put into books, all the places I knew I had to see, all the people I had yet to follow down a trail.
Some of us grow out of the “I wannna be outside” phase of life but mine has only intensified as these interesting years have passed. I would rather camp than stay in a hotel. Nothing swells my heart like seeing a trail through a forest or along a river or through a narrow canyon between two mountains. I have said for years that if I could I would sleep outside every day of my life.
During my own life’s hard times I have also taken to the woods for healing and to restore the grace of my soul that I had given to someone or something or that has been taken away from me. There’s a little spot in the wilderness near me that I point out often to my spouse and say, “If I go missing I will be here with my notepad.”
Today it’s 103 in London, women are scrambling to find health care access, weird entitled men in suits are trying to get away with illegal activities, the world horizon looks dim and depressing.
But listen…there is hope in the wilderness.
There is hope in the quiet beauty of the ferns and flowers and trees who carry on in spite of what we have done to the air they need to live. There is the sweet scent of peace and happiness when the wind kicks up and the smell of wet earth breezes into your nose so you can not just smell but feel the earth inside of you. There is startled joy when a deer, just as startled, hears you and dances away as if its just seen a terrible looking human. There’s the touch of the soft grass slipping against your legs and the way the edges of a long branch tickle your arms as if to trying to get you to linger a moment longer.
The wilderness, a local park, a small slice of earth in your own background…it will give you a dose of much needed hope whenever you need some.
And now, I am off for a hike because my heart energy is low today and I know just where to go.