There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.
— Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage
Do you ever look at the surface of a pond or pool and wonder at the gumption of those who would breach the surface and enter another world? Dolphins and whales leap from the deep and experience our world for a brief moment. Humans dive into water and recall deep within the connection. There’s a calling in water that draws us there. Those who live there apparently seek time in our world as well. This is as it should be, for we are all of the water.
Do you ever feel the presence of the trees when you walk deep in the woods? The ancients, not the brash young things fighting for a place in this world. Old growth trees know things we’ll never know in our brief lifetime. Rooted deeply into the past, reaching into the future, grounded by a sense of place, trees are the life force of the forest. When we cut down forests we rob ourselves and generations to follow of all of these things.
Do you ever spend time above treeline, looking at clouds mingling with the lower peaks below you. Are we meant to be in such places where even the wild things steer clear? Walking in such places brings us closer to the universe, and to the heights we may aspire to in our quiet moments of bold reflection.
We all want a sense of timelessness and a place with the infinite. We forget sometimes that we’re already a part of it. We can’t see the forest for the trees. We must break the surface of self-absorption and see what we’ve been missing deep within ourselves. Doing more of the “do you ever” things is a step in the right direction.