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.
– Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods
With a little vacation away from work and my kiddo off canoeing at day camp, it’s time for a fix of woods. I pull up Hiking Upward to find something near enough to hit in a few hours but far enough for solitude.
This is the goal: solitude. And its accompanying quiet.
Humans are social creatures, sure, and we need to be in proximity to people as much for a sense of connection as for all the stuff — the supermarket and hospital, the auto mechanic and school. To survive, we need to be in community. Even so, too much proximity to too many others can take its toll. The buzz of engines and clang of machines, the soundtrack of urban and suburban life, can jam the signals. When I start to notice myself too focused on the clock and task list, too alert, too aware of every demand and every passing vehicle, I know it’s time to seek out a forest. Continue reading “Think Global, Hike Local”