As long as I cannot speak the language of the trees, I will have to listen to their wisdom in other ways. Believe me, I wish that I housed interstellar brain waves that could connect my humanness to the majesty of the woods and all of its creatures. However, the closest thing I can do right now is escape the city for a few days, maximize my tree intake, and be receptive to anything that happens. This past week’s dose of society’s approved nature dwelling has reminded me of two extremely relevant life tips from the trees.
Don’t assume that everything will work out; make sure it will.
My girlfriend and I set up our tent only to realize that we forgot the rain cover. Normally, this would cause me immediate stress, and I would release a bit of frustration in the sound of an “Ugh!” Then, I would get over myself and figure something out. I would have finagled some sort of a hammock-rain guard combination so that we would be able to create a barrier between us and the elements. However, my rare immersion into a beautiful state park left me in an alternative lax state.
Fast forward to the next morning, and I am awoken by unforgiving sheets of rain. Lots of rain poured, and to be clear, it was not the kind of rain that finds its way into a Nicholas Sparks movie. It was harsh and cold, the way people describe the “real world.” For a split second, a narrow sight took over and I cursed at the rain for simply being. After the campsite was packed into the car for our way home, it became clear to me the message present. The wilderness reminded me of my own faults. I had the resources to provide my own shelter, and I relied on the world to pan out for me.
Don’t rush your path.
We are chugging through the most difficult trail the state park has to offer, a six-mile loop that engages hikers in stunning views and a few mosquito bites along the way. The overlook is gorgeous. The flowing folds of rock make for an awe factor of ancient sculpture, and I soak in the beauty. Quickly after this climactic moment, I notice my stomach is rumbling, and I yearn to dive into some sort of sandwich situation as soon as possible. Instead of pacing ourselves for a hike back mirroring exactly the same distance as the climb up, we book it.
In a testament to my poor health, my breath begins to sting my lungs by mile five, and I ignore my body’s “slow down” signs. I continue the pace of my much fitter girlfriend and hope to transport into a land of food and nap time. I think of my hunger, and I start to quicken my stride. Suddenly, a thump! My ankle performs an impressive backwards twist into a plank-style dirt dive. My fall surprises me, my twisted ankle hurts, and I cry a little. It took some limping to discover that my fall was inevitable. I was so focused on my end goal that I wasn’t paying attention to the very real, challenging path that lay ahead of me. I underestimated the trees, and I needed that root to grab on to my shoe lace.
Maybe these are signs from nature, maybe I am a complicated klutz who overthinks everything. Either way, I consider the woods to be a sacred place, so I take in these events with hope for personal growth. Not everybody plans their next day off work to accompany s’mores and squirrels in a campground. Say the city is your temple, listen to the sounds of the streets. Others use the internet to navigate through facing personal challenges, hopefully this article is helpful. For some, their own body becomes a vessel of intuition, know what your gut is saying. No matter the medium, the importance of an effectively sent message lies in the quality of the receiver, you. Listen closely.