Many people like to be outdoors, and we all have our favorite outside settings. I personally prefer being in the forest more than anywhere else. There’s something calming and comforting about being surrounded by all of those trees. I really appreciate the imperfection of random nature. Some places are too organized; too planned and ‘perfect’. I love how the forest is in different stages all at the same time. For example, take the trees. At all times, you can see anything from seeds to seedlings, saplings, mature trees, and even dead and dying trees, decaying and creating fertile ground for new trees. There are mosses, flowers, weeds, and plants of every shape and size. The overhang of the trees can not only shade, but can shield from some rain and snow sometimes. The smell of the forest is earthy and pleasant.
There are many types of sentient beings in the woods, too. Insects of all types – ants, spiders, worms, snails, and many others. I’ve found salamanders, skinks, frogs, toads, and snakes. Rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and other small, furry animals. I’ve seen turkeys, robins, sparrows, and other birds. Deer, bears, foxes. So much diversity.
I remember, as a young girl, walking through the woods between my grandparents’ house and my uncle’s house. There is a dam near the entrance on my grandparents’ property, and they had some fish in there. A small creek is nearby. I used to spend hours just walking around, enjoying myself.
In the summer times during my childhood, I went to Girl Scout day camp. I liked when it was time to gather firewood, because it was a perfect time to wander off through the woods while searching for as much firewood as I could find. I sometimes got chastised for going out on my own, because we were all supposed to use the “buddy system”.
Some of the best times were at night. I love sitting around the campfire. The entire process is fun – gathering the wood, setting up the campfire, getting it to light, coaxing the tiny flame into a roaring campfire. I relish making meals, snacks, and desserts using a campfire – a tricky, inexact challenge. Afterwards, sitting around the fire, singing, and relaxing. Trying to keep both sides of yourself warm, and then realizing the best you can do is face the fire for a while, then turn around for a while, trying to keep both sides as close to a good temperature as possible. There’s something nice about the slightly chilled, then slightly warm, then chilled again sensations.
There is something amazing about being immersed in nature, everything simplified, just taking care of the basics. Finding new ways of doing things, without the conveniences of staying indoors, and without the distractions of technology, is fulfilling and exhilarating.
I love being in the forest. It’s where I feel at home.