Going Within and Coming Back Out

Last week, my partner and I took a back-country camping trip into the heart of Adirondacks’ West Canada Lakes Wilderness.  For five days, we were surrounded by pine, spruce and hardwood, felled trees disintegrating into forest floor, a pristine lake with a beaver dam about 100 yards from our tent, whole micro-ecosystems living out their destinies in small pools and ravines, mountains blanketed with morning mist, and all manner of living creatures carrying out their quotidian acts of survival.  A huge electrical storm swept through one night, with impressive cloud to ground lightening and raucous thunder peeling out in the magnificent stretch of sky.  Billions of stars lit up the cool night sky afterwards.

It took a little while to shed the layers of civilization that we carried into this landscape, but after a day or two, we noticed ourselves becoming more and more at one with the pace of life  as we breathed in and out the incredible energy that enervated all life in one of the most wild places left on the East Coast of the U.S.  It occurred to us how easily we could peel away so many of the so-called “conveniences” of life that actually make life so much more complicated.

No computers, no cell phones, no running water, no air conditioning, no oven, no restaurants, no running this or that errand, no checking bank accounts and paying bills, no making this deal or going to that meeting, no strategic planning, no profit-forecasts, no microwaves that kill food, no electrical wires, no eerily flickering TV’s, no annoying commercials on the radio, no endless miles of pavement, concrete, steel and glass, no air pollution, no honking, no pissed off drivers weaving in and out of lanes, no billboards trying to sell you stuff you don’t need, no shopping malls selling stuff to teens that they don’t need, no hot showers, no running to the grocery store, nothing we had to do and nowhere we had to go.  The only thing we had to do was just Be One with Our Nature.

Hollows between the roots of a great tree were our lounging chair.  A good portion of the day was spent drawing water (thank you, lake) and collecting the abundant sticks lying on the forest floor for firewood (thank you, forest).  We practiced Qigong by the lakeshore.  We listened to the sound of beavers carrying out their work in the middle of the night and smiled in our half-sleeping states.  We marveled. We learned from the fire, from the water, from the air, from the earth, and from the few simple metal tools that we brought with us. We ate simply. We loved simply. We laughed. We were quiet.

I’m still a little in shock at our return to civilization.  I am struck hundreds of times daily at how needlessly complicated we have made our lives.



Filed under Whatchamacalit

19 responses to “Going Within and Coming Back Out

  1. Sounds like a great trip. I too have experienced the shock of returning to civilization after such trips, or after retreats.

  2. I’m so happy to hear what a special time you had…. : ) …and the joys of simplicity….even without the extra sweaters? : )

  3. Sounds like heaven Angela ~ you will always have those memories to call on now xo

  4. What an incredibly precious experience. Something that will leave you changed forever – with a greater perception of our wants versus our needs. Much love my friend ♥

  5. All I can say is that I agree wholeheartedly…

  6. Surely a great tryst with nature and some spirituality too. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Beautifully written. You have put it so eloquently, that profoundly moving Oneness and peace that permeates my being with every trip into the Kananaskis wilderness near my home. I often prefer to camp alone, as my partner isn’t much for camping, and besides which – I cherish the solitude. No talking, just existing, immersed in nature. Wonderful post.Thank you!

    • My partner would certainly call you a kindred spirit!! She’s the real back-country camper of the family, but she’s got me hooked. I’ve never been to the Kananaskis wilderness, but it’s one of those “before I die, I must…” places… Huge hug and thanks for commenting.

  8. Wow. To marvel. To be quiet. To smile to the sounds of beavers working in the night. To be one with the good earth. Oh how your soul must have just bloomed. It must have been quite a shock to the system upon your return. I remembered thinking with shock how terribly ugly our modern household appliances were after a week out in the wild. So good to catch up with you!!!!! Missed you much and many, many hugs. Shaz

    • Oh, my dearest, dearest Shaz!!! How wonderful to read your words and feel your presence here. I hope you are having a splendidly magical summer enjoying the wild places of your beautiful Finland. The trip was indeed an inspiration to me to simplify my life and my interactions. Even the way I think about my working life has shifted. You must let me know how you are doing and all about your summer. Huge, huge, huge hug and so much love coming your way from across the great pond.

  9. yazrooney

    Going into those spaces is going into the self. Just as returning to the noise is returning to that part of ourselves that is still striving, efforting, suffering…Yes, I love nature, and always sigh upon my return, which makes seek permanent nirvana!!!!! Thanks for a lovely reminder.

  10. Many similar experiences here. Coming back shocks. Loud, fast world rushing around, watching clocks and screens. Unintended consequence, much of it. I hear they still let hermits build their own house and live alone in the mountains… in China. 😉

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