the woods...

I know that I've written about the woods on here before, but a weekly reference wouldn't be too much in my opinion. I can't get enough of them, I'm a sucker for a walk toward, in or around the woods.

Today I walked a piece of property down by the Flat River. It was mature with deep ravines and very little brush due to the density of the hard wood ascending 30 to 40 ft. into the blue sky. It was mostly oak trees with a scattering of poplar, hard maple and cherry. Dead leaves from the past few years served as mulch and downed trees added to the untampered landscape. The crisp, cool air of the morning only captured the fresh and vibrant smells that make the woods more intoxicating and enchanting. The dew was still clinging to the leaves deepening the color of green with a moist coating of care. The slope leading to the river was dark, yet inviting. It, too, was an aged forest unspoiled by tractors and tree surgeons and man-made trails and loggers and hunting blinds and telephone poles. I felt like I wanted to run down the steep hill and dive into the river in the nude, Edenic to the core. There is just something that moves me so violently when I'm surrounded by such beauty.

Maybe this is why I always stop when I'm channel surfing on shows like "little house on the prairie" or "the waltons" or "old country westerns". It's not the plot or the production, it's the raw, historic simplicity of the wild. It's the acres of unexplored and unexterminated land waiting to be tilled, talked to, and cared for by the hospitality of the human race. But we aren't treating it as gardeners, as husbandmen. I wonder why.

The sun was pressing itself through openings in the trees shooting rays of ripe life into the mysterious underworld. Who needs intelligent lighting when you have strobe light-like streams of light moving about at the will of the wind shifting and shoving the trees back and forth? The dirt was dark and rich, watered by the recent rainfall we've experienced this past week. It was softer under the feet, like a carpet with a thick padding. There were weeds that were ornimental in nature, large-leafed and covered with velvet. Yellow flowers dancing in the swirling breeze along the hedge waiting to be watched by anyone who would linger long enough to appreciate their presence. The smell was akin to a greenhouse, potent with oxygen and sticky with a dampness about it. The perfect environment for growth. Birds were eagerly communicating with each other all around, some sounded angry, others delighted. Some young, others old and seasoned. Leaves caught the gusts of wind and rustled together with a concert of noise that filled the woods with a monotone hum that braided with the silence perfectly.

The woods are amazing because they would provide the same joy even if you weren't around. The woods are content. The woods love being. The woods don't need recongnition to survive. They display the same attributes with or without the presence of humans. While everyone else is running around making an impression, a name for themselves or a buck...the woods dwell in security and serenity away from the road. Have you noticed that the further you get from road, the better the woods are? It's because roads are the opposite of woods. Roads represent going. Woods represent being. Roads represent speed. Woods represent stillness. That's why if I have a chance of taking the highway or the backroads, I usually opt to take the back roads. I actually drove down a dead end dirt road the other day just to see where the road ended and the wild begain.

With the development of roads and the devaluing of woods, my soul aches all the more for the agrarian lifestyle...the idyllic country setting away from the bustle of the industrial revolution and into the rustle of the trees. Away from the noise of the traffic and into the sound of the rustic. Away from the commotion of civilization and into the emotion of of the uncivilized and undomesticated, the untamed and untampered. I hate seeing cell phone towers and giant powerlines sweeping up every last bit of land. It ceases to be nature when it ceases to be natural. You can't manufacture nature...when it's gone, it's gone. I never thought of myself as an environmentalist before, but as I read this blog, it reminds me of so many mass emails I've gotten over the years asking humans to care again about this planet. Maybe I'm becoming one of them, or maybe I'm just a guy who feels compelled by the woods and wants to fight for them since it's quite obvious God didn't create them to fight for themselves. We were created to tend them and care for them. And there's something about that command that makes sense to me today.

Comments

BeththeBlue said…
John Eldridge said in one of his books, "my heart was at home in this place of wild beauty." And, "Remember what it's like to come into a beautiful place, a garden or a meadow, or a quiet beach. There is room for your soul. It expands. You can breathe again. You can rest. It is good. All is well...my heart begins to quiet and peace begins to come into my soul."
No doubt that when God entered into his rest on the seventh day that it was within, and among, the wild. The same rest that we get an occasional opportunity to go out to, and get a glimpse of, in today’s world that mostly consists of concrete jungles. The same rest that he longs to bring us back into...among the "uncivilized and undomesticated, the untamed and un-tampered" wild of his land. What a blessing it is that there still remains a few pockets of that wild around us. I truly feel that when I am out in the natural wild of this earth that I understand the fullness of what creation once was and will be again.
pianoman said…
no words for this one yet... i'm still too overwhelmed...
caleb said…
it makes me sad to read this for I think of the woods back on the barrows' ranch and how they have been spoiled and defiled. They just aren't the same anymore. The ice storm and the loggers have done their damage that will take a couple decades to heal. no more shire...

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