On nature and spirituality

Sometimes, I do things other than write.

In fact, I would say that I do things besides writing most of the time.

In the midst of my recent poetic renaissance, I have gathered around me a couple of friends at work who have managed to make it past “work friend” status into the fabled “life friend” territory. One of them is a Twitch streamer, food and culture blogger, and all-around amazing human; the other is a cloud architect weirdo we keep around for entertainment purposes (I’m fully kidding — he’s also a brilliant person who continues to baffle me on the regular, in a good way).

The three of us have been hanging around a lot together outside the office, which means that conversations inevitably turn away from work and toward heavier things: poetry, god, politics, dreams, desires. It’s nice to have people around me on a daily basis who share some of my passions and feelings, but who also challenge me to think about things in new ways and help me better articulate how I interact with the world at any given moment.

All of this is to say — I went hiking with Soph this weekend.

There is a beautiful park not too far from her place with several miles of hiking trails. While the parking lot looked pretty full, the trails themselves proved refreshingly isolated — no doubt thanks to the vastness of the forest. We took her Very Good Doggo, Mera, and traipsed a wandering path across several of the marked areas, including a fun splash in the creek, which Mera enjoyed immensely.

At one point, we came upon this ancient oak tree. It had to have been there for more than 500 or 600 years. Huge, imposing, and just… phenomenal. Everything about it was old, and intense, and magical.

Soph said to me: “Put your hand on it and look up.

And so I did. It was very nearly a religious experience. I felt connected to the tree in an odd way, as old and weary as it was. I could see hundreds of spider webs patterned over the bark from here, glinting in the sunlight. The immense feeling grew inside my chest, too. The quiet thrumming of the forest around us served as something of a religious hymn calling us to worship.

Looking up at the giant oak tree.

I have been, the forest said. I have been and I will be.

It was an incredible moment, worth hiking the 5 miles plus driving the hour to get to her place. The simple act of existing in nature helps me realize that my problems are small, and can be managed.

It helps to remember that sometimes.

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