Monday, February 3, 2014

Breath of the Forest

"Wherever we go in the mountains, or indeed in any of God's wild fields, we find more than we seek."—John Muir

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"Anyhow we never know where we must go nor what guides we are to get—men, storms, guardian angels, or sheep. Perhaps almost everybody in the least natural is guided more than he is ever aware of. All the wilderness seems to be full of tricks and plans to drive and draw us up into God's Light."—John Muir
Some of my best walks are when I simply take off and wander without a goal or purpose. I have learned that a journey without agenda leaves me more receptive to discovery and wonder. I walk with open heart and receptive hands, simply seeing whatever is brought before my eyes as I walk down the trail. This is the true spirit of sauntering.

The wind blows across my cheek, sometimes cold and slashing, sometimes gentle as the breath of a lover. I give it very little thought, but the wind’s harshness can push me to more sheltered paths as surely as its caress can bring much needed refreshment. And so this unseen force directs my path.

As my feet carry me down the trail, my thoughts wander freely as the breeze, coming and going, bringing words to the silence. Perhaps there’s more at work here than I realize in this spirit/breath/wind that blows through wild places.

I come without agenda,
listening to the breeze,
feeling the silence
in every step.
Walking in wonder, unsure
where this path will lead
my thoughts and spirit.
A deep mystery is this breath of the forest.

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Both of the above quotes are from My First Summer in the Sierra, describing Muir's experiences in the summer of 1869 (published in 1911).

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