Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thoroughly Wild

I thoroughly enjoy the owls in our forest. Their call makes any woods more wild.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Night Forest

Some of my best thinking (or not thinking) is done standing alone at night in a dark woods. Few things are as sanative to my spirit. My mind wanders from thought to thought, sometimes paying great attention to my surroundings and sometimes not. When the experience is best, I am not so much thinking as feeling, soaking it all in until my mind is at peace, and the forest somehow becomes a part of me.

My wife thinks I sometimes loose track of time when I'm out in the woods. Maybe she's right. Or maybe it's just that time here is different. There's little difference between an hour and a minute to a tree. The sun rises and sets. Each moment is new and yet timeless. The forest is ever changing and always the same, and it is that perspective that steadies my mind against that which pretends to be most pressing and urgent.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

So Much Beauty Around Us

Common beauty is everywhere around us—for those who will take the time to see. If we will only pause from our busyness and look, we many find that even common weeds, briers, and gardens become like stained-glass windows pointing to something more. Then we will truly begin to see that we live in a glorious temple.
"No wonder the hills and groves were God's first temples..."
 "Wherever we go in the mountains, or indeed in any of God's wild fields, we find more than we seek."
—John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra.
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Firefly Dance

I am just in from the firefly dance. Their magic illumines our forest hollow nightly, and I must admit the show can leave me spellbound. My schedule the next few days may be driven by a need to be in the woods just after sunset. I am captivated.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Forest Therapy

Breathing the air of big trees,
standing in silence, still,
watching as a single yellow poplar leaf
spins and drifts, falling slowly to earth
in the green, dappled, forest sunlight.

This is good medicine
for body and soul.

Summer's Soundtrack

I'm no entomologist, but I love the soundtrack of summer. I love to just sit and listen through the season to the rising and falling rhythmic swells of cricket, katydid, and cicada. They fill the air with a ceaseless music and create a comfortable background to the days and nights of summer.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Five Minutes

Even a rainy morning has its beauty for those prepared to receive it.

Yesterday before work I was on the front porch listening to the morning—mourning dove, the steady beat of raindrops, a noisy crow, a few chattering chickadees—when a hummingbird instantly appeared, hovering not 3 feet from my face, then darting to the nearby feeder hanging on our porch. Turning my head only slightly, I watched her feed for 30 seconds before she chirped once and flew off, disappearing at once into the trees, a tiny whir of wings no bigger than a fleeting thought.

These things are all common everyday wonder, and I was able to enjoy the wonder only because I was there, on that porch, still, for only 5 minutes. These moments happen all around us all the time. Too bad we're usually too busy to notice.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Stillness

“When one is alone at night in the depths of these woods, the stillness is at once awful and sublime. Every leaf seems to speak.” — John Muir in John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, 1938

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Scout Camp

Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouting movement, understood the power of the outdoors. There is a certain magic in the woods, lakes, and fields that cannot be found anywhere else. Below are a few images from our troop's week of Scout camp. If you are passionate about the outdoors and care about the future of our youth, I encourage you to get involved in Scouting. I find it's time well spent, and I get back far more than I give.
"For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, the forest is at once a laboratory, a club, and a Temple."
"A week of camp life is worth six months of theoretical teaching in the meeting room."
— Robert Baden-Powell, 

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