We had chosen a trail on the south side of Bradbury Mountain that is a steady climb until it reaches the shoulder of the mountain and then comes to the Boundary Trail. We got all the way to the top without having to stop to catch our breath - a pleasant surprise. It's a beautiful walk and the sense of being "away" is immediate. I knew that I was into it and I smiled with the realization that a walk in the woods is not only a special privilege, but a powerful balm for the soul, not just the body. It never fails.
I began to think of other walks in other woods at other times in my life as far back as my memory goes, all the way to Louisiana. It really feels like I am connecting with my roots - no pun intended - the "who" that I am, when I am in the woods.
The woods: If there is a place where Spirit dwells, it is there. If there is a place where solitude is found, it is there. If there is a place that doctors the soul and points to your true north, it is there.
I am lucky. All I have to do is walk out my back door and I am in the woods. There was a time when most of us Americans lived near or actually in the woods. Slowly we migrated toward more urban environments and soon many of us found ourselves living out of easy reach of woods or wilderness.
When you think about it, central heat, electricity, paved roads, WiFi and that magic called "access" all add up to a powerful incentive that seems to overwhelm our sylvan roots. Personally, I think it's important to retreat to the wilderness from time to time to unplug, to see, to listen and to walk in gratitude to the rhythmic metronome of your heart.