So, instead of getting 60 seconds of me telling you what I did yesterday on the full moon and panning along the lush, autumn vistas that are the Westmoreland Sanctuary in Bedford, New York, you get a still photo of me sitting on a rock, with the camera angle such that you can’t even see the tops of the magnicifent trees. Ah well.
It was a grey, fall day, but I’ve been looking forward to walking the Sanctuary’s many short, easy-to-follow trails, and what better day than a moonday on which to do it? It was just me, my trail map and my camera. There was no one else there at all. Not one car in the parking lot other than my own.
I spent two hours wandering the trails, all of them loops, all of them interconnected, none of them longer than two miles. I hummed to myself, mostly Psapp and Zero 7, the songs looping round and round in my head, the lyrics repeating themselves over and over. “Was it loneliness that brought you here, broken and weak? Was it tiredness that made you sleep? Have you lost your will to speak? Was the earth spinning round? Were you falling through the ground? As the world came tumbling down, you prayed to God, what have we done? Free me from these chains. I need to change my way. Heal these broken wings. I need to fly far away, far away…”
I was startled by a deer with a fluffy white tail. I lost my way at one point, feeling a twinge of fear followed by ecstatic relief when I realized that I had never really strayed from the path at all. I was happy. And yet I wept a little.
What is it about being alone in nature that is so profoundly cathartic? And yet ultimately so centering?