Tag Archive 'the madness of civilization'

Jan 27 2017

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The Forest Makes Sense

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Coaxed by my canine companion, I head for the woods in the middle of the day to tramp around for an hour or so. I’m in dire need of it. I work too much, think too much, and pay too close attention to breaking news. The madness of civilization is closing in on me. I need a time out. And the forest always makes sense.

Snow crunches underfoot. A crow calls in the distance. The chilling air and woody silence draws me out of my head and into the here/now. I lay a set of tracks towards nowhere, nowhere in particular. And that’s exactly where I need to be.

The Righteous spill blood in the name of God. Others think torture is a better way to go. Intelligent people tout the wonders of modern medicine that no one can afford. Fools build nuclear weapons when they can’t even feed themselves. The cagy build island fortresses to claim the sea as their own. The naive watch glaciers melt and break out the suntan lotion. Billionaires scramble for ways to make more money. The desperate seek refuge in deadly drugs. The fearful put up walls to keep strangers out, unaware that they are building their own prisons. Everyone acts surprised when computers are hacked and valuable information is stolen. A few devise excursions to other planets, as if that will solve everything. Meanwhile, motorists race to their deaths while more sedentary folk sit before televisions believing everything they see. And people say I’m crazy for hiking alone in the woods.

Snow crunches underfoot. After laying tracks for a while, the heaviness I felt earlier in the day begins to lift. I find woodpecker holes in a dead tree and start considering possibilities that I hadn’t considered before – the endless possibilities of the wild. The forest makes sense. Nature makes sense. And my dog is happier sniffing around than I will ever be. That doesn’t seem right. I’m the sapient creature, aren’t I? Why can’t I be happy all the time? Why isn’t my kind happy all the time?

Returning home, I consider my options. Should I start my own holy war? Or should I ignore the world and seek solace elsewhere? I turn my computer back on instead. There’s work to be done.



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Sep 02 2011

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I recently discovered a small pocket of wildness in a nearby town that’s a great place to seek refuge when the stresses of modern living become too much.  My wife Judy brought it to my attention.  She learned about it from people she works with. Like most town forests, it isn’t well known.  And from the looks of the unbeaten trail, few people go there.

While roaming its complex network of paths, I marveled at the fact that I hadn’t discovered this place a decade earlier when I first moved to Franklin County.  But not every town forest is heavily signed or well-marked on maps.  Even when they are, it’s easy for us to miss them.  After all, we naturally associate smallness with insignificance.

Only ten miles from my house, this largely overlooked forest is good place to wander and wonder – a good place to let the nerves uncoil.  I reached a bench at an intersection of paths that proved to be an ideal place to sit and think.  No one came along while I did so.  Yeah, this is my kind of place.

Refuge, sanctuary, asylum, haven – the meaning of each of these words is nuanced, slightly different from the rest, yet they all indicate the same basic thing.  We all need at least one safe place to go when the bullshit becomes too much.  I’ve just added this one to my short list.

I prefer deep woods, miles from the nearest road, but time restrictions often prevent me from reaching such places.  So I go where I can – an hour here, two hours there.  And that’s how I keep road rage and all other forms of civilized madness at bay. Where do you go?  What do you do?


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