Wisdom in the Wilderness


“The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness . ” ~ John Muir

treetopsRecently I spent a week in the Pacific Northwest, alternating between hikes along the ocean, and through the rainforests. As it was the first week of September with everyone heading back to school, it was quite secluded.

My accommodation was a rustic cabin with a woodstove—no television, no telephone (not even cell phone reception) and no internet access. The only sound was the gentle crashing of the waves upon the shore.

As there were often no people in sight, the experience, at times, felt surreal. Walking along the beach in the morning mist, the vast sea on one side, and towering spruce trees on the other, I imagined what it must have been like for the earliest people who settled there.

It was not surprising, I mused, that the native Indians were so spiritual. This kind of land is infused with spirit. One cannot help but feel immense awe, regardless of which direction the eyes are cast. Breathing in the clear, moist air feels like breathing in the spirit of the earth.

Entering the rainforest was like entering a sacred realm. It was so quiet. The tall trees, hundreds of years old, reached up to the sky. The sunlight filtered through, illuminating the forest floor, which was a world unto itself. Green life sprouted everywhere, be it mosses, ferns, or new little trees, often growing out of nurse logs—huge trees that had fallen to the ground. These massive trunks, even in death, provided nurturance for new life. The forest continually renews itself.

It also renews those who venture there, for it is the original natural habitat of humans. I also believe it speaks to us, infusing us with deep wisdom. I shall look forward, in the weeks and months ahead, to decoding its messages. And, of course, I shall return.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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