When the sun trickles out from behind the clouds it begins as a little twinkling blinking thing, and then it bursts, and I can’t look at it without seeing red veiny constellations. I can only watch it waxy in the water.
This is a lonely too cold day in Spring Break.
It’s cold and I’m curled up under a blanket of leaves I have brushed and built over me, inside an enclave of rough rock because of the wicked wind and the relief the rough rock gives me. I still shiver, I shiver like the death of a leaf on the tip of a twig in a gust of late autumn. I slowly begin to live for the sun here, because it’s so warm and infrequently blinking and twinkling because it’s so often enveloped by thick base clouds, heavy with water, whose shadows are navy blue. And because it’s so big.
There’s a dead turtle somewhere to my left and I can sort of smell it in that way where I might be just remembering the smell and not really smelling it but I still can smell it and it doesn’t matter if it’s the real smell or not. The dead thing is still there even though I can’t see it. It still smells even if I can’t smell it.
The sun comes out maybe for five minutes every twenty minutes, that’s what it feels like. I’m too cold to look at my watch and too correctly-comfortably curled to care too much.
The sun blinks infrequently all in all.
Pinching wind won’t get me much, even though I see it violently prying and pulling the limbs of the great trees apart.
The sun’s out and the rain’s out too and rain’s falling and each drop sparkles like a shooting star, like some liquid rainbow before it hits the earth or the water and the water begins to ripple. It’s so beautiful, it’s really too beautiful to just watch and write about.
If you close your eyes and sit very still and don’t make noises you can hear the forest talking to itself. Mostly you can hear the leaves and the bugs. It sounds like falling snow. It’s amazing how much it sounds like falling snow. It’s this profoundly large sound that’s only large because you know it’s made up of so many tiny silent things. It’s got a large and hollow hush to it, this crisp muffled echo. Flake after flake after flake. That’s what the forest sounds like in the spring. It’s this large long soft noise, a biggish quiet sizzling series of crackles. It sounds like snow, only snow sounds wetter. This sounds lazily alive.
And then if you sit still longer and if there’s wind or something, you’ll hear the trees talking to one another. The trees creak dryly like old cracking dusty houses. The wind bids them mumble. They creak and crank in a sentient way. Queer light tight sounds. Rickety crikling spiney sounds. It sounds dead secret, they’re talking about you and about the whole thing you’re in.
I think it’s important to practice walking barefoot in the woods. I think it’s important to feel the pain of sharp rocks or sometimes thorns. I think if each step you take you’re stepping on Nature herself you’re hurting her a very little tiny bit. It only makes sense to feel a little bit of pain. If you wear shoes the world is made of leather said some guy in some book I read once. Maybe.
To be with nature you must not walk beside her you must walk with her, embrace her, feel her, whisper to her and dance with her.
When I’m alone in the woods I talk to the trees. I say things like, “Hello trees” and “I hope I don’t get lost” and “How’s the winter treating you” and “Which way do I go now, trees?” I’m mostly joking but I think if the trees knew what I was doing they would find it funny if they could find things funny.
I like talking with people but I really mostly only like being alone in the woods. When there’s no one around, like in the wintertime and off the trail I feel like I’m the only person in the world. I can run forward and zig zag and roll on the ground and climb and fall and scream and laugh and cry, I can do it. It’s like my own room. I can talk too. I can speak to myself or the trees or other things that breathe here. Even if I know the trees won’t talk back it’s nice to talk to someone who isn’t yourself because you’re often hard on yourself and you can be cruel and mean to yourself.
“What the fuck, why did you do that, don’t you know better, why are you wasting your time, what the fuck is wrong with you, you pitiful shit” is what you might think to yourself. But if you talk to a tree, or something who isn’t yourself about these things you’re forgiven because it’s something that’s been around a really long while and will listen to you and laugh, because your problems are so funny, because they aren’t problems at all, because the tree thinks serious things are a lot more serious.
Woods around here are rare and small and every now and then you can see the edge of them and the beginning of city. There’s this constant pressing thought of limitation, of a border. It’s why I never liked hiking trails before when you’re bounded to a trail. Nature: paved and pruned to your preference. Why hike on a trail in the woods? Why not hike in the woods? Trails get like city sidewalks full of eye aversion and determination.
I’ve driven in the city a few times, I get so startled and distracted I’ve gone through two red lights because of everything happening. You gotta focus hard in the city, focus on the path forward from here to there. We get like those black horse blinders, another eyelid. It’s not allowed to really divert from some sort of routine. Can’t even stop in the middle of the sidewalk you get jostled. People look at you funny if you idle. Can’t take a moment for a second.
Woods wind and wind around. You rove in the woods, you weave around the winding woods. You rove and weave around. You can stop and go and sit and crouch and take some time to climb something.
Hard to weave and wind around in the city. Hard to rove. Is it because we’re watched? Eyed?
The woods are freeing. I remember trekking rude trails, spectator to nature. Once I saw a deer path off the trail, off the path. I could take it make it mine and leave this viewing seat behind. I went somewhere I’d never been before, where no one was or would be. There was this one tree, uprooted. Scraggly and dirty, but in the roots was packed mud and in the mud were little white quartz stones jaggedly sticking bright out.
No one came here. I could waste time here. Spend my idle time sitting in the middle of somewhere without being in the way. Without being in some spotlight of someone’s eyes. Can be nude in the sun dappled woods. Nothing really minds.
In the woods the mind unwinds. The sun shrine shines through dappled eyes. Electric green on striding trees. Shiver sounds collecting beneath the canopy stretching.
Swaying and shackled the tower trees are easy with little finger-tapping leaves on the windy breezy.
You can get lost. The woods are deep. They can be a maze, a long deep crazy maze, where you weave your own way. A labyrinth of the lost. Made by the lost. Get lost in here. Let the mind spiral wide touching everything. Let the woods direct your thought, let it fill your mind. Get lost in the wide moment, spiraling thought in the moment. You’re lost. You’re only lost in a maze if you’re in the maze. If make your own way, take the path your on and claim it. Grab fate by the thorny horns. Grab it by the balls, the bush, the bundle.
Can sing in here. The whole silence sounds like music. Little nature sighing songs. Can breathe in here. Heart beats in here. It feels uncontained and nothing’s strained. It’s energetic and bright and exciting to be surrounded by such silent strange life. Touch each trunk, feel the quiet spirits. There’s such secret life in here, solemn secret life that pulses together. The woods let your mind wander as you wander but easily it can be called back at a moment. Your mind can wander in a moment in here.
There’s deer in here. We’re in here.