There’s no place like the woods when one is searching for inner peace. You can follow any trail and go as far as you’d like- there are no limits. The expansiveness of natural landscapes fills my heart and the fresh air fills my lungs. My swirling mind calms down to a resting point. The faster my heart beats and my breath quickens, the less my mind buzzes.
With a few inches of fresh snow on the ground, I could tell nobody had walked the loop I chose around the base of the hill. My clunky boots would be making fresh tracks. With my shoulders plugged back and my chest lifting toward the sky, I recalled the mantra, “blaze your own trail.” Before the thought was finished, six deer dashed across the path about 30 feet ahead. I stopped abruptly and dead silence filled the space. How could it be that six animals of the same size could be so much quieter than one?
When I started walking again, I became distracted by the deafening sound of my swishing rain jacket and crunching snow beneath my heavy boots- two feet so large and obvious unlike the four discreet hooves of a deer.
Another benefit of fresh snow is tracking animals. I saw evidence of coyote, rabbit, and squirrel. There were even little holes dug into the snow where the squirrels were accessing stored nuts, seeds and acorns.
Similar to squirrels, people too, burry their food in the ground in root cellars to keep for the winter months. Native Americans observed this method and would keep track of where the critter’s goodies were stored so they could reap the benefits. Those who think this unfair, I say, it’s just one piece of the food chain. If I were cold and hungry, and I had to choose between a filling a squirrel’s belly or my own, I’d dig up those nuts in a second.
Until that 50-degree day we had, it finally started to feel like winter. It also wasn’t until the past two weeks that I finally entered hibernation. How fortunate I am to actually allow my body to rest and recuperate from the farming season. Staying in one place, sleeping in, cooking soups, taking hot baths, and really focusing on self care is what winter is all about.
My mind does wander out of the present moment to the future all too often. What am I going to do next? That’s the big question with no big answer. Uncertainty is uncomfortable. Trusting it will all work out is not easy.
While in hibernation mode, I have been allowing my body and mind to descend from capitalism’s pressures to constantly make progress in order to be a productive member of society. So, I’m not very “productive” right now in the way of growing food to feed my community. But, the internal progress I am making is immeasurable.
Stay tuned for the less abstract philosophical posts. My life will get more adventurous soon enough. Perhaps I will bike x-country, that’s one of my many ideas. Thanks for being patient while I face all my shadows.