I’m sharing a rock with the ants and I hope, too, the snakes, though they haven’t come out to greet me. Today my heart slows to a steady beat, unlike the melodic rhythms it carries on the trail. Today I am still, content, satisfied to just sit on this rock.
We are sharing the mountain today. This thought lingers in the air around me and my eyes smile, then my lips. I take in my surroundings: boulders above me, rhododendrons in every direction, water flowing downstream, tall pines and maples, soft earth, ferns carpeting the forest floor. And somewhere, several miles away, you are taking it all in, too.
I want to photograph this scene – make the world understand what I know, feel what I feel: true love. Unfiltered, raw, intimate. Everything here is perfection. The trees tower over me, wrapping me in their beauty and security. I trust them. The rocks beckon me to sit, meditate, take refuge on their solid foundation. I trust them to hold my weight, fragile compared to their own solid mass. They are begging me to climb on them, like a kid on a jungle gym. The metaphor is cliche, but this is my jungle gym: this forest, these rocks, this stream. It’s my playground and I am on an exploration to discover all of its secrets. Like a child, I feel unhinged and wild in these woods. Free from society’s standards and expectations of my behavior. I can do as I please in these woods. The forest is my “get out of jail free card” and I intend to use it over and over again.
The phrase one with nature echoes through my mind. It’s overused – sure. But how else do you describe this feeling? I’m sure someone more poetic than I could, of course. This relationship between human and nature is a feeling, an experience beyond words, however poetic those words may be. Photograph it – sure. Record it – fine. But you just won’t capture the scent of a fresh breeze, moss on rocks, pine needles on the earth floor.
I’m on a rock high above the ground. I’m hidden but in plain sight. I’ve watched hikers down below. They take no notice of me above them in the tree tops. I am alone up here, but not lonely. I am with you on this mountain. The forest cradles our hearts and promises to keep us safe. Our hearts. Yours and mine. We’ll be ok if we just put our trust in the forest, these trees, this mountain.
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29 June 2016