A Walk in the Woods… Why do we go?
A fellow nature lover, Cheryl, just over the mountain in West Virginia, wrote this lovely piece on going for a walk in the woods. With spring at our heels, I thought it would be nice to share her writing and thoughts:
This year I have begun to think about what I want to do on my walks in the woods, what is the goal? After writing down a bunch of goals and tasks I still didn’t have the answer I was looking for. The question was all wrong. So then I asked why do I go and what do I experience. The answer wasn’t what I thought it would be. The answer was that WOW moment that I cherish, that always draws me back.
I love that sense of wow and wonder that I get when I am truly in the moment and I discover something that has been there all along. It is brand new to me and suddenly I see it everywhere. My eyes have been opened and I marvel at the new discovery and beauty of this new object. I look around for someone to tell and want to shout from the mountain tops, “Look at this…..it is sooooo cool.” These moments are addicting like a drug that opens up my consciousness. I guess John Denver would call it a Rocky Mountain High.
The challenge is to continually find that new wonder, the new discovery on the same trail year after year. But the challenge is always met. Something always pops out. Even one small thing is enough to experience that wonder. Mother Nature never fails to deliver.
Sometimes just seeing old friends like spring ephemerals is wonder enough. I can delight in the fact that they are back and I recognize them. Seeing them only once a year keeps them fresh to my eyes. But there is always the fear that they won’t return signaling the end of the world as I know it. I just can’t conceive of spring without Dutchman’s breeches along the Shenandoah River. It would be too much to bear.
So my goal this year is to just be there in the moment and notice what is right in front of me. And to say hello to old friends and see what they have to offer I didn’t notice before.
How about you?
Note: The photo included here is from Algonkian Park – as I went there this past weekend, hundreds of Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers filled one of the vernal pools that runs through the property. Their chorus was so loud, people stopped their cars in wonder. It was fabulous.