My family walks with me most mornings. As mentioned in my previous post, we have all grown quite fond of our family walks. But sometimes, if I have work to do out in the field or if the family has other obligations, I walk alone through the mountains behind our property.
I enjoy the family time, but I also enjoy the moments of solitude that I spend sauntering around the goldfish pond and the time I spend quietly climbing hillsides and steep trails. In these solitary moments, I allow myself time to forget about the minutia of life, time to feel a primal instinct coursing through my veins, and time to be myself.
I no longer think of any bills that need paid. I no longer think of any chores that I need to complete. I no longer think of the unimportant nuances of my life. I no longer think; I simply exist.
This morning I walked through the mountains alone. I followed a rabbit’s tracks along a trail, through the forest, and into thick brush. I studied coyote tracks that followed the same trail but vanished just beyond the forest’s edge. I stood motionless as five deer pranced down a mountainside and turned within feet of my rigid body. They turned abruptly, knowing something wasn’t normal, but only galloped a few yards away before they stopped, and like me, stood motionless, waiting for the next event to unfold. I remained silent for over ten minutes, watching the whitetails as they considered the situation. They ducked their heads as if to eat, but quickly returned to their observations. Finally, I surrendered. I moved my foot towards the direction I needed to travel, and immediately the deer bounded over the next ridge. I heard them for several more seconds before they disappeared from my existence.
While walking back towards our property, the thought occurred to me that I hadn’t spoken since I left my house early in the morning. I almost mumbled something clever but forewent the effort to spare myself and my tranquil surroundings the unnecessary noise. Instead, I simply walked in silence, appreciating the opportunity to be alone in the forest.