Monday, October 11, 2010

Rocks, Sticks, and Other Fun Things

My family and I made a great escape to the woods this weekend. The drive out there was like a car chase with me checking behind us every ten seconds to make sure that real life wasn't tagging us, trying to ruin our weekend. When we arrived at the woods and the quiet engulfed me and a peace settled on my shoulders, I felt pretty sure that we gave real life the slip. My tongue lolled out of my mouth, I started panting, and I didn't really stop until the camping trip was over.

There's something about being in the woods that makes me realize that almost every single thing that I do each day isn't real and I don't even know it. I don't know how often I feel bored during a normal day. I always have plenty to do, but I'm usually bored doing those things.

In the woods, I can stare at a tree or a fire for hours and not feel bored. I can sit in stillness and listen. My kids can be utterly entertained by a pile of rocks, a few twigs, and a really cool feather. I can wake up in the morning and do so much before I have my first cup of coffee (this is unheard of at home). We can walk for hours and see nothing but trees and leaves and not have anyone mention the words Mario or Brothers one time.

To be fair, at one point while we were hiking in the woods, I looked down at my feet and thought to myself—you know, I'm going to get me some really cool hiking shoes for the next time we do this. Ooh, and maybe I'll get some of those crinkly khaki pants with the pockets all over. Ooh, ooh, and I'll carry a backpack with nothing in it but water, cliff bars, and trail mix, and I'll carry a walking stick, and I'll fix my hair in pigtail braids and when I take the braids out, my hair will be all cool and wavy. I smacked myself for being in the middle of such natural beauty and only thinking about how I wanted to fix my hair. I guess that some of real life caught up with me. But I am totally wearing my hair like that next time.

The morning we were leaving, as I sat on an ancient land once occupied by the Occoneechee Native Americans and looked out onto the glistening lake . . . yes . . . a speed boat went by and brought a poem to mind from dear old William Wordsworth. I will leave you with this today.

The World is Too Much with Us

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.—Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

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