I didn't have a perfect childhood -- who has? -- and spending a lot of time outdoors was an integral part of my personal healing process. I feel complete now, so my time outdoors has become more of a celebration than a quest... yet taking a stroll in nature, far away from the sights, sounds and smells of the city, still soothes my soul like nothing else.
The actual process by which this happens -- the reason why it's so soothing to descend into a valley between two mountains, shielded from the signs of civilization -- is something I still struggle to articulate. I suppose it's a little different for everybody. For me it had to do with knowing that I actually belonged somewhere, that I was unquestionably a part of something, and that the "something" came with exactly zero ulterior motives. I think this post at GreenProphet.com makes a pretty good go of explaining the same thing from another perspective.
When you get right down to it, the ways of analyzing it are pretty much endless -- but I'm sure we're all talking about the same thing. Mind you, there's also a point at which being too far from the signs of civilization gets scary. For me, that comes when I start feeling lost, when I've gone one too many valleys away and am not sure which way is home. How's that for a life metaphor right there?
How about you -- what are you looking for on the trail? Have you every found yourself farther afield than you meant to go?
Photo © Lisa Maloney: Who wouldn't want to be a part of this?