A walk in the woods

At a time when America seems all topsy turvy, our democratic values redefined in terms of ‘alternative facts’ and the things that matter most to me — women’s reproductive rights, the environment, the American welcome mat — in serious jeopardy of marginalization, I decided to embrace a climate change of my own: from the sour political climate to a sweet winter one. Reminded of the words of John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness,” I went in search of my own personal refuge from all the madness I perceive in Washington. I took a walk in a snowstorm.


Now, I realize this makes me a refugee at a time when refugees are getting the cold shoulder in the land of the ‘huddled masses yearning to breath free”; and on my walk, I had plenty of time to think about what good company that puts me in. But I also had time to let go of all that, to merely — if something so profound can ever be ‘mere’ — let this winter wonderland wash over me, bathe me in its serenity and inescapable beauty. Thank heaven this is a sanctuary OS-CP (our so-called president) can’t meddle with. No federal funding is required to find a haven in a winter woods walk.

The peace that this sanctuary provides me needs no accord, no treaty; nor can any executive order spoil it. It is a gift, Mother Nature’s very own to me personally, to break free of: the Sean Spicer’s and the Melissa McCarthy’s; the endless stream of discontented  and enraged Facebook posts, most of which I agree with; the talking heads; the latest outrages out of a White House led by a 7th-grade bully with an inferiority complex and a very very big stick.

Out here in the woods, all that evaporates. The silence sings to me; the snow clears my mind of all that swirling nonsense; and the breath of wind pinks up my cheeks and perks up my spirits, and bodes nothing more threatening than a blob of snow falling from a tree branch.

If I could bottle this contentment, I’d be a rich person — and Nordstrom’s would carry my product.

— Belle Songer

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