Nov 13 2009

Profile Image of Walt

Looking for the Wild

Posted at 10:08 am under Blog Post

I went for a long walk around noon yesterday, after a round of writing.  No surprise there.  I do it once a week, at least.  I drove out to Green’s Corners and walked my favorite section of the Rail Trail – one that passes through the woods and beyond a wetland before reaching a cluster of houses.  Matika was excited about getting out.  I’ve been working a lot lately so she’s hasn’t had much woods-romping time.  A few yards down the trail, I told myself that I really should get out more.  Yeah, right.

The sky was mostly blue but clouds were moving in from the southwest.  A few patches of green enlivened an otherwise brown landscape.  The air temp was around 40 degrees, neither warm nor cold.  A couple chickadees flitted about nearby trees.  That’s all.  Other birds were conspicuously absent.  Not much to look at, so a hundred yards past the wetland I stepped into the woods.  The “no trespassing” signs didn’t stop me.

I wasn’t fully aware of it at the time, but I stepped into the woods looking for the wild.  I stepped off the trail and into the woods because I felt an urge deep within to connect with wild nature, and not just pass through it like an ipod-wearing jogger.  I kicked up a few dry leaves as I walked, releasing their intoxicating fragrance.  And that was it: I was off and running.  By the time I reached a deer trail following a low ridge through the woods, Matika knew that we were on an impromptu adventure.  She smiled from ear to ear.

I didn’t wander about those woods very long.  I don’t like tramping across other people’s property, especially when they make it clear that I’m unwelcome.  I bushwhacked a half-mile loop that ended at a very small pond.  I tossed a few rocks into the pond, breaking the thin layer of ice covering it.  Then I tagged the Rail Trail and hiked out.

I caught a whiff of swamp gas as I walked past the wetland.  A caterpillar less than an inch long struggled across the path.  Clouds rolled overhead as if to remind me that this year’s first winter storm is overdue.  Matika sniffed the grass.  I broke a sweat as I picked up my pace, already thinking about the many things on my to-do list at home.  Then I resolved to take a much longer excursion in the woods soon, very soon.

Yesterday I went looking for the wild.  It’s as real as the air we breathe and the ground we trod, yet the most abstract of all philosophical concepts.  The wild is both everywhere and nowhere, ubiquitous yet ethereal.   Can’t say I found it, but it certainly found me.

One response so far

One Response to “Looking for the Wild”

  1. Andrewon 17 Nov 2009 at 12:22 pm 1

    Yes, sometimes the wild comes a’ knocking, at least if you are paying attention. This morning I’ve got goldfinches at the feeder outside my office window, five feet from my nose. This is my first sight of them in months. Since spring. The chipping sparrows arrived last week. The cycles of nature never cease to amaze me.