107: Deep Thoughts from the Woods

107: Deep Thoughts from the Woods

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Last week I was gone for a magical week, deep in the woods of extreme northern Minnesota, a stone’s throw from the Canadian border. A week spent deep in the woods gives a person a lot of time to think and you generally come back to your normal everyday life with some thoughts. Today, I’m sharing those deep thoughts from the woods here with you.


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The problem is, when you spend a lot of time away and have some moments of clarity, you come back to a jumbled up world and it can be really hard to reacclimate yourself to what’s going on here in real life. It’s been a bumpy ride to say the least. But I offer up my three thoughts to you in the hopes that maybe one of them will help untangle something in your head, too.

Deep thought #1: Prepare for then, but live in the now

Somewhere while packing the last items into the truck for our annual cabin trip, it occurred to me, this could be our last real family vacation. By next September, our oldest will be graduated from high school, possibly college, and will be a full fledged adult. Our youngest is only a year behind. And that thought sat in the back of my head as we drove up and unpacked our gear.

But somewhere along the first trip out on the 4 wheelers it hit me. I can focus on the fact it might be his last trip to the cabin as a kid and be sad, or I can pour myself into the moments of this vacation and actually experience them.

Wherein I offer up my three thoughts I brought back from the deep woods in the hopes maybe one of them will help untangle something in your head, too.

And then, I realized something else.

We’re all doing the same thing as it relates to what’s coming next for our economy, for our society. We are so caught up in what might be coming around the bend that we’re missing what’s happening right now.

Now, I do think it’s important to prepare. I myself am someone who likes to try and think two steps ahead. I think that’s a responsible thing to do. But not to the detriment of the life you’re living and breathing in right now, at this moment. 

It’s okay to peek at what’s coming around the corner, but make sure you’ve got your feet on the ground where you’re standing.

Deep thought #2: The trees have answers

Because the air is more clear and the woods chill me out, I generally go to the cabin looking for brilliant answers— for the way around everything, or for a solution to whatever is the current issue in my life. This time though, the answers just weren’t coming and I was getting frustrated. The second to the last morning that we were at the cabin, I started the coffee pot, sat at the table in a sort of silence that is almost suffocating, and I penned the following free verse poem.

Wherein I offer up my three thoughts I brought back from the deep woods in the hopes maybe one of them will help untangle something in your head, too.

A Tree in the Woods

In this place
where I can see my breath at the kitchen table,
Where making a pot of coffee is not as easy as
Running the faucet
Clicking the power switch
Waiting a few minutes to pour your cup,
Where stepping off the deck means
Greeting a bear,
Where the changing leaves
are your television.

In this place
where we haven’t seen another
Human being for five days
Not on the trails.
Not on the roads.
Not in the woods.
Where the world could have stopped
Blown up
Ended
And we wouldn’t even know
Unless we turned on the radio.

In this place
where I come for clarity
Answers
Perspective
Where I usually come out on the other side with
A deep refreshing
Cleansing sigh
And a big idea
A solution
A plan

But this time is different
There is no cleansing sigh
I’m here and I feel like I’m
Holding
My
Breath.
And
Like an impatient two year old
I want the answers
Demand the answers

The sky and woods laugh at me
and say
Sit back
Watch
Breathe.

And I look
and all I see are trees.
Trees being trees.

And the sky and woods repeat
Sit back
Watch
Breathe.

In this place
I’m surrounded by trees.
This time of year they start to show
Gold
Salmon
Scarlet.
They stand tall and straight
Bending slightly with the wind
But strong and rooted.
A tree
Being a tree.

A tree doesn’t have to reinvent itself.
A tree is a tree.
It is there through the seasons
Through all the things that happen in the
Outside world

A thickness of trees becomes the woods
And I love the woods
What they show and
what they hide.
There has been and always will be
Things in the woods
That those outside of the trees
Won’t see
Can’t see
Refuse to see
And don’t understand.

But that doesn’t change the trees
The trees know they are trees.

Sometimes people run to the woods
For protection
To be away from
The masses.
(Isn’t that what I’m doing, psychologically?)
We find the woods both
Restful
And protective
But most people don’t stay
There are no lights
And after too long
the quiet is scary.
A noise in the quiet is even worse.
Better to have noise all the time.

I come to the woods
where trees spend their time being trees.
Trees know who they are
What they are
Do I know who I am?
What I am?
Have we made the question too complicated?
Is that why it’s hard to sit alone in the quiet?

It’s not if you’re a tree.

We joke about the coming fall
And that we mean both
the season
And the collapse of civilization
And I wanted answers before the turn
so I came up here to
This place

And all I get this time is
“Watch the trees”
Which means
I think
Be a tree
Which means
I think

Stand tall
(pay attention to what you can see)
With roots
(hang on to your foundation)
Among the trees in the woods.
(there are others like you)
Understand that some will try to seek shelter in you
(And you need not change for or because of that.)
Understand that others will be scared of you
(And you need not change for or because of that.)
Bend when you have to so you don’t break in the wind.

But most important?

Understand what affects you as
A tree in the woods
And don’t worry about the rest.

Deep thought #3: I really like to write. And here’s what that means.

While I was up at the cabin, I had a lot of time to write. And I remember how much I like to write. And you may think, “that’s odd, I mean, obviously she likes to write and she’s got a lot to say. She’s a blogger and a podcaster.”

Wherein I offer up my three thoughts I brought back from the deep woods in the hopes maybe one of them will help untangle something in your head, too.

But there are different types of writing, and while I have done a lot of different writing in my life, my favorite kind of writing is the creative kind. The kind that spills my feelings. The kind that talks about my day. The kind that doesn’t have to fit a formula or follow a rule.

Because of these realizations up at the cabin and due to some things that happened upon my arrival back to the land of running water and electric coffee makers, I’ve made some decisions about how I will be spending my time online and how it relates to this website. 

My thoughts on that, what blogging used to be, and the future of social media can be found in a separate blog post: Old School Blogging.

I hope that some of these deep thoughts of mine untangled things for you. Questions or comments? Stick them in the comments below. 🙂

Wherein I offer up my three thoughts I brought back from the deep woods in the hopes maybe one of them will help untangle something in your head, too.

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3 thoughts on “107: Deep Thoughts from the Woods”

  • Perfect! I live 7 miles from the Canadian border in Montana. I know the wonderful peaceful feelings, the rest the soul receives. I liked your poem can I share it? Also I would love to see an old school blog. Sometimes all I get from 4 or 5 blogs I follow are this or that bundle. But not a thing to read or encourage me. Nothing to stir my soul or make me sing… to give me hope or a new idea. I don’t do bundles! But you do touch me. You think and share and not the same stuff everyone else is sharing . So thanks…

  • I llove this weeks podcast, it definitely provided some much needed food for thought. I never got into reading blogs but I am excited to read yours especially if you continue to share some more of your beautiful poetry.

    • Aw, that means a lot. I love writing poetry. I really thought that piece was the one where a bunch of people were going to say “ok, now Amy’s lost it…” Thanks for the kind words!

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