Gathering Strength

 

Last weekend, I found myself once again in the woods. All was quiet, still, snowy. Sun fringed the trees in icy light, and the surrounding mountains were sharp against a blue sky.

It was, of course, a “working forest,” with second- and third-growth trees competing for light. The young forest was dense and dark, with sudden open patches of blinding bright. Here and there, massive stumps bore testimony to what their kind had been and what these trees might once again be, with several centuries behind them.

I have, of late, spent too much time indoors, working, ruminating, consuming information at a frantic pace in the desperate hope that by knowing–by bearing witness–we can somehow prevent catastrophe. I’d resisted last weekend’s outing, partly because of a looming deadline and partly because even nature has recently reminded me too much of my dissatisfaction with our species’s tendencies to prioritize the short-term and the insular.

I was, of course, wrong to resist. The work of walking over ice and crusty snow, the crisp air, the lovely indifference of nature to our human concerns, all took me out of my head.

It is good to work for peace and justice and reproductive rights and human rights and the continued survival of wild places and the natural world upon which all life depends. But it is also good to reconnect with that which brings us joy.

I will march later this morning, and then I will head back to the woods.

 

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