February 19, 2017

Playing In The Snowy Woods

Regular readers of this blog will know that I usually post about 3 times a week. This past week was different. Why? Because of three words: Big. Snow. Storm.

Despite winds that whipped up 3 metre (10 ft) drifts, the power never went off. Nor was my internet connection severed. No, it was the great outdoors calling to me that kept me away. Over the years I have learned to respond when I hear nature call, and nothing beckons me outdoors more excitedly than a Big Snow Storm.

So after a dump of 60cm (2 ft) of lovely white stuff I set aside my "work" and let my inner child go out to play. I played till my lungs were scrubbed clean with fresh air, my cheeks rosy, and my legs sore. There really is nothing more fun, or beneficial to your health, than a day playing in the snow.

Even better is several days playing in the snow. While out, my face hurt from smiling constantly.

The forecast is for temperatures above freezing so the big melt is coming, confirming that taking advantage of the white playground in my back yard while it existed was the right thing to do. Now I wait for hiking and biking weather. And write.

“I used to love those days when it was so cold everyone else would be tucked away inside trying to stay warm. I would be the only one out walking, so I could look across the fields and see miles of snow without a single footprint in it. It would be completely silent - no cars, no birds singing, no doors slamming. Just silence and snow.” 
- Damien Echols

February 14, 2017

Finding Sanctuary In The Simple Life

Simplicity provides sanctuary from the buffeting winds of modern consumer life. In this place one will enjoy great inner peace.

I was crossing the field behind my house on snowshoes yesterday, headed for the shelter of the forest below. I was fighting my way through a white out while being buffeted by wind gusts reaching 100 km/hr. It was scary and strangely exhilarating, like life in general these days.

After almost being knocked over, I made it to the edge of the trees. More than other days, it really felt like going "into" the woods. In the open deciduous trees at the forest fringe, it was still quite windy, although I didn't feel like I would be blown away any more.

That part of the forest is like a vestibule, or covered porch. The real shelter is just a bit farther in where the spruce forest begins. The spruce forest grows close in, the trees not minding rubbing snow covered shoulders with each other.

It is here that one can find total reprieve from the wind, regardless of speed or direction. Although I could hear the freight train wind around me, where I was in the trees was complete calm and tranquility.

While the snow was blowing horizontally at face-stinging speeds in the field, just a bit farther on I stood in a pocket of peace surrounded by snow covered spruce. Here, unbelievably, the snow was gently falling straight down.

Afterwords, while warming up by the fire back at home, I thought of how a simple life is like that pocket of calm in the spruce trees. Living a slower life with fewer things with which to concern yourself, provides sanctuary from the wild storm of complication raging all around.

It was only because I knew that the forest would provide me with sanctuary as soon as I got to it, that I was fearless in striking out across the wind-blasted expanse of the open field. So it is with the sanctuary provided by simplicity.

I can engage in the world without fear of being blown away by it, because I am always able to return to the calm, tranquil existence that simplicity provides. And who couldn't use more peace, calm and tranquility in scary times?

For fast acting relief from the storm, simplify your life. A spruce forest is also good.

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