Tag Archive 'nemophilist'

Dec 15 2022

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Keeping the Faith

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Once there is less than 9 hours daylight, day after day, I find it hard to stay upbeat. Sitting in my study, writing essays about the human condition and other philosophical matters doesn’t help. Nor does all the holiday hoopla that breaks out this time of year. I try to play along, ignoring the worst of it, but the hoopla gets to me all the same. Bah, humbug?

Reading a few inspiring passages by some of my favorite nature writers made me realize that I’m slipping into an early winter funk. Despite the cold and snow, I need to be outdoors. So that’s what I did yesterday. I drove twenty-five minutes south then went for a hike around Milton Pond.

With only a couple inches of snow on the ground, a pair of Yaktrax was all it took to gain traction. I slipped them over my boots and set forth. I carried water in a small teardrop pack and stuffed my jacket in there, as well, once my inner furnace was cranked up. I walked fast enough around the pond to inhale deeply the fresh cold air without feeling like I was in a hurry. The pond was iced over already, surprisingly enough. The sun tried to burn a hole in the thin cloud cover overhead, but without much success. No matter. I didn’t mind the muted light.

I ran into only a few other hikers and their dogs so I was alone most of the time. That felt good. It felt good to tramp through the forest, over snow-covered ground, simply grooving on the wild. I am, after all, a nemophilist – one who loves the woods and haunts them regularly. My wife discovered that obscure word the other day then brought it to my attention. It fits.

Today I’m still in something of an early winter funk, but it’s not quite so bad after yesterday’s outing. I’ll have to get out again real soon, for a second dose of the wild. And that’s how a woods wanderer like me keeps the faith. While hiking through the forest, everything makes more sense to me, and life seems much more worthwhile.

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