The Woods

It's amazing what makes sense in the woods.

Vastness, for one thing. How big everything is. The scope of a single tree: leaves, branches, bark, needles, seed pods, roots. The scope of many trees: oaks, sycamores, pines, alders, in groves, along hillsides, upwards. The sky, which is deep, like a bowl you will never glimpse the bottom of. The earth, which is old and dark and wise.

Meaninglessness, for another thing. Not in an ugly way; not in a way that should frighten you. Meaninglessness in a way that implies meaning. I just mean you must let go of your ego in the woods. It becomes clear that you are going to die. It becomes clear that the earth, too, will die. It becomes clear that that is all OK; in fact, it is just as it should be.

In the light, the green is deafening; the buzz of birds and little-brown-mouse-things that live in trees are alive and holy. In the dark, the absence of green is deafening; the absence of sound is an orchestra to itself.

Certainly, all of this can make a person afraid. Certainly, we are creatures of habit, and city people feel tossed upside down in the woods. City people walk until the signal on their phone shows up, because that's a pillow in all of this. City people make noises to fill the silence.

But city people, when they allow themselves to sit with the scary bigness of the outside world, heal there. I can't translate this into words. You will have to go, and sit, and be afraid, and listen. And maybe you will have to cry. There are times when we have to.

Then, I promise, things will make sense in the woods.