Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience.
Woods are grim places. Farmers shoot squirrels, crows, magpies, and hang them up on trees to warn Mother Nature to get it together or else. Much notice she takes, being in league with God. They're a right pair, more carnage than the rest of us put together.
A hundred years or more, she's bent her crownin storm, in sun, in moonsplashed midnight breeze.surviving all the random vagariesof this harsh world. A dense - twigged veil drifts downfrom crown along her trunk - mourning slow woodthat rustles tattered, in a hint of windthis January dusk, cloudy, purplingthe ground with sudden shadows. How she broods -you speculate - on dark surprise and loss,alone these many years, despondent, bent,her bolt-cracked mate transformed to splinters, moss.Though not alone, you feel the sadness of atwilight breeze. There's never enough love;the widow nods to you. Her branches moan.
It’s not by accident that people talk of a state of confusion as not being able to see the wood for the trees, or of being out of the woods when some crisis is surmopunted. It is a place of loss, confusion, terror and anger, a place where you can, like Dante, find yourself going down into Hell. But if it’s any comfort, the dark wood isn’t just that. It’s also a place of opportunity and adventure. It is the place in which fortunes can be reversed, hearts mended, hopes reborn.
The early dew-falls that did a pristine coating,over the woods with its finest transparency,glazed as like its wet white-glassy earrings that hung on the ears of wild flowers—unlatched my fancy.
You do not have to be good.You do not have to walk on your kneesfor a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.Meanwhile the world goes on.Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rainare moving across the landscapes,over the prairies and the deep trees,the mountains and the rivers.Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,are heading home again.Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,the world offers itself to your imagination,calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –over and over announcing your placein the family of things.
No, what numbed these fields, peopled with bad dreams was not the oppressive grip of a plague but rather an ailing retreat, a sort of sad widowhood. Man had started to subdue these vacant expanses, then had grown weary of eating into it, and now even the desire to preserve what had been claimed had perished. He had established everywhere an ebb, a sorrowful withdrawal. His cuttings into the forest, which were seen at long intervals, had lost their hard edges, their distinct notches: now a thick brushwood had driven its sabbath into the broad daylight of the glades, hiding the naked trunks as high as their lowest branches.
Every time I stare into those eyes of yours, they shine like a mirror with the sharp edges, piercing trough every bit of my reflection. It makes me feel like a child lost in the woods. And all of a sudden I hear a song somewhere and a shiver runs down my spine. A song that I have heard somewhere before. A song that makes all my demons dance forcefully at once.
And we will meet in the woods far far away from this hustle and bustle... and share love and sunshine.
It's possible that Knight believed he was one of the few sane people left. He was confounded by the idea that passing the prime of your life in a cubicle, spending hours a day at a computer, in exchange for money, was considered acceptable, but relaxing in a tent in the woods was disturbed. Observing the trees was indolent; cutting them down was enterprising. What did Knight do for a living? He lived for a living.
Keith traced my face, traced my hands and traced my body as the crickets chirped a love song and I lost myself in his eyes that stroked my soul and punctured my heart, like a poison arrow in a shooting star
We walked always in beauty, it seemed to me. We walked and looked about, or stood and looked. Sometimes, less often, we would sit down. We did not often speak. The place spoke for us and was a kind of speech. We spoke to each other in the things we saw.
The sure path to tomorrow was plotted in a manger and paved on a cross. And although this sturdy byway is mine for the taking, I have incessantly chosen lesser paths. And maybe it is time to realize that Christmas is a promise that I can walk through the world and never get lost in the woods.
When I consider that the nobler animal have been exterminated here - the cougar, the panther, lynx, wolverine, wolf, bear, moose, dear, the beaver, the turkey and so forth and so forth, I cannot but feel as if I lived in a tamed and, as it were, emasculated country... Is it not a maimed and imperfect nature I am conversing with? As if I were to study a tribe of Indians that had lost all it's warriors...I take infinite pains to know all the phenomena of the spring, for instance, thinking that I have here the entire poem, and then, to my chagrin, I hear that it is but an imperfect copy that I possess and have read, that my ancestors have torn out many of the first leaves and grandest passages, and mutilated it in many places. I should not like to think that some demigod had come before me and picked out some of the best of the stars. I wish to know an entire heaven and an entire earth.
It would seem from this fact, that man is naturally a wild animal, and that when taken from the woods, he is never happy in his natural state, 'till he returns to them again.
Until we understand what the land is, we are at odds with everything we touch. And to come to that understanding it is necessary, even now, to leave the regions of our conquest - the cleared fields, the towns and cities, the highways - and re-enter the woods. For only there can a man encounter the silence and the darkness of his own absence. Only in this silence and darkness can he recover the sense of the world's longevity, of its ability to thrive without him, of his inferiority to it and his dependence on it. Perhaps then, having heard that silence and seen that darkness, he will grow humble before the place and begin to take it in - to learn from it what it is. As its sounds come into his hearing, and its lights and colors come into his vision, and its odors come into his nostrils, then he may come into its presence as he never has before, and he will arrive in his place and will want to remain. His life will grow out of the ground like the other lives of the place, and take its place among them. He will be with them - neither ignorant of them, nor indifferent to them, nor against them - and so at last he will grow to be native-born. That is, he must reenter the silence and the darkness, and be born again.(pg. 27, A Native Hill)
The places of quiet are going away, the churches, the woods, the libraries. And it is only in silence we can hear the voice inside of us which gives us true peace.
At first glance, northern hardwood and hemlock forests aren't very sexy - they are the accountants of the forest world, stable and consistent.
If people in general could be got into the woods, even for once, to hear the trees speak for themselves, all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish.
Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill.
I did not want to think about people. I wanted the trees, the scents and colors, the shifting shadows of the wood, which spoke a language I understood. I wished I could simply disappear in it, live like a bird or a fox through the winter, and leave the things I had glimpsed to resolve themselves without me.
I did not want to think about people. I wanted the trees, the scents and colors, the shifting shadows of the wood, which spoke language I understood. I wished I could simply disappear in it, live like a bird or a fox through the winter, and leave the things I had glimpsed to resolve themselves without me.
The thorns thinned out and the trees grew taller and straighter, their branches not beginning until a few feet over our heads. The white, peeled bark of the birches looked buttery in the long, slanting afternoon light, and their leaves were a delicate gold.
Soft sunlight tall treeswoodsmoke impressions summery cuestossed onthis dainty patch of my recluse.~ Poem Title VERS LIBÉRÉ, Tara Estacaan
And she would not hold back his limbs when his heart was gone to the woods, for it is ever the way of witches with any two things to care for the more mysterious of the two.
Little Maiden Encounters FearDeepest regions walked she therelittle maiden sweet and fairventured far from the pathnever a whispernever a laugh...
We read the pagan sacred books with profit and delight. With myth and fable we are ever charmed, and find a pleasure in the endless repetition of the beautiful, poetic, and absurd. We find, in all these records of the past, philosophies and dreams, and efforts stained with tears, of great and tender souls who tried to pierce the mystery of life and death, to answer the eternal questions of the Whence and Whither, and vainly sought to make, with bits of shattered glass, a mirror that would, in very truth, reflect the face and form of Nature's perfect self.These myths were born of hopes, and fears, and tears, and smiles, and they were touched and colored by all there is of joy and grief between the rosy dawn of birth, and death's sad night. They clothed even the stars with passion, and gave to gods the faults and frailties of the sons of men. In them, the winds and waves were music, and all the lakes, and streams, and springs,—the mountains, woods and perfumed dells were haunted by a thousand fairy forms. They thrilled the veins of Spring with tremulous desire; made tawny Summer's billowed breast the throne and home of love; filled Autumns arms with sun-kissed grapes, and gathered sheaves; and pictured Winter as a weak old king who felt, like Lear upon his withered face, Cordelia's tears. These myths, though false, are beautiful, and have for many ages and in countless ways, enriched the heart and kindled thought. But if the world were taught that all these things are true and all inspired of God, and that eternal punishment will be the lot of him who dares deny or doubt, the sweetest myth of all the Fable World would lose its beauty, and become a scorned and hateful thing to every brave and thoughtful man.
My breathe would catch at the sight of violets-so common in the woods at home, so surprising in the mountains. The violet's message was Keep up your courage, stay true to what you believe in. p264
When you draw, you copy the world don't you? You remake it on paper, but it isn't the same. It's yours. No one else could have created it just like that. When I make poems, I use the words we all use, but the order and the sound create a new power. This wood is someone's creation. We stumble through it's tendrils, as if we're crawling through the synapses of his mind.
These woods are as empty as you think, he had said. You cannot know what the light might summon from the darkness.
Yes, he knew it was crazy to be this obsessed over an encounter that had taken up maybe sixty seconds of his life. (Or had it been an hour and sixty seconds?) But what an encounter. His fingers still felt the bones and flesh through her sweater, his tongue still tasted her mysterious bitter-greens mouth, her voice still haunted him with that whispered 'Help me.
Three scents accompany my memories of this place: cut wood, poppy-seed bread, and the soft, crisp smell of snow.
Everyone knew you shouldn't go biting into fruit offered to you by magical creatures in the woods, even if you'd thought until just five minutes ago that such stories were, you know, only stories.
Distance changes utterly when you take the world on foot. A mile becomes a long way, two miles literally considerable, ten miles whopping, fifty miles at the very limits of conception. The world, you realize, is enormous in a way that only you and a small community of fellow hikers know. Planetary scale is your little secret.Life takes on a neat simplicity, too. Time ceases to have any meaning. When it is dark, you go to bed, and when it is light again you get up, and everything in between is just in between. It’s quite wonderful, really.You have no engagements, commitments, obligations, or duties; no special ambitions and only the smallest, least complicated of wants; you exist in a tranquil tedium, serenely beyond the reach of exasperation, “far removed from the seats of strife,” as the early explorer and botanist William Bartram put it. All that is required of you is a willingness to trudge.There is no point in hurrying because you are not actually going anywhere. However far or long you plod, you are always in the same place: in the woods. It’s where you were yesterday, where you will be tomorrow. The woods is one boundless singularity. Every bend in the path presents a prospect indistinguishable from every other, every glimpse into the trees the same tangled mass. For all you know, your route could describe a very large, pointless circle. In a way, it would hardly matter.At times, you become almost certain that you slabbed this hillside three days ago, crossed this stream yesterday, clambered over this fallen tree at least twice today already. But most of the time you don’t think. No point. Instead, you exist in a kind of mobile Zen mode, your brain like a balloon tethered with string, accompanying but not actually part of the body below. Walking for hours and miles becomes as automatic, as unremarkable, as breathing. At the end of the day you don’t think, “Hey, I did sixteen miles today,” any more than you think, “Hey, I took eight-thousand breaths today.” It’s just what you do.
Indeed, he could not be long in discovering that people beyond a suspicion of unbalance, or not obviously coveting the moment's arrest of attention gained them by their statements, never had experience with or knowledge of the restless dead. Slowly accepting this as evidence that no such things existed, Mr. Lecky found terrors deeper, and to him more plausible, to fill that unoccupied place - the simple sense of himself alone, and, not unassociated with it, the conception of a homicidal maniac quietly pursuing him.The first was exemplified by chance solitude in what he had considered deep woods. No part in it was played by natural dismay which he might have felt at finding himself lost, and none by any tangible suggestion of danger. Mr. Lecky could not even remember where or when it was. Long ago, under a seamless gray sky which would probably end with snow; in an autumnal silence free from birds, unmoved by the least breath of wind, he had come to be walking at random impulse.Leaves, yellow, tan, drifted deep and loose over the difficulties of an uneven hillside. His feet crashed and crackled in them. He was not going anywhere. He had nothing in mind. It might have been this receptive vacancy of thought which let him, little by little, grow aware of a menace. The unnatural light leaf-buried ground, the low dark sky, the solitary noise of his unskilled progress - none of them was good. He began to notice that though the fall of leaves left an apparent bright openness, in reality it merely pushed to a distance the point at which the woods became as impenetrable as a wall.He walked more and more slowly, listening, hearing nothing; looking, seeing nothing. Soon he stopped, for he was not going any farther. Standing in the deep leaves beneath trees bare and practically dead in the catalepsy of impending winter, he knew that he did not want to be here. A great evil - no more to be named than, met, to be escaped - waited fairly close. So he left. He got out of those woods onto an open road where he need not watch for anything he could not see.