the clearest way into the universe

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we could sit for centuries, bound in the spell of one tree, entering into relationship with it through a kaleidoscope of sense– its thousands of scents, the warm touch of its bark (and the cool bed of its humus)– the fierce delicacy of sap, so clean and smooth on the tongue– until it makes sense in the most ancient part of ourselves, in the darkest cells in the marrow of our bones–

our bodies have formed themselves in delicate reciprocity with the manifold textures, sounds, and shapes of an animate earth; our eyes have evolved in subtle interaction with other eyes, as our ears are attuned by their very structure to the howling of wolves and the honking of geese. to shut ourselves off from these other voices, to continue by our life-styles to condemn these other sensibilities to the oblivion of extinction, is to rob our own senses of their integrity, and to rob our minds of their coherence. we are human only in contact and conviviality with what is not human. only in reciprocity with what is other do we begin to heal ourselves.

–david abram

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and yet, here we are in a literal forest of such sensuous wonders– the endless experience to be enjoyed in one tree– times the infinite number of trees all calling to us with the same (same but different) plaintive, beautiful pulsing– come here, come home–

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the question isn’t even should I stay, here, with one tree, settling deep into the awe of it as it unfolds in unending isness to meet the same (same but different) in us; or do I wander, further down the path, following the wild calls of turkey, the sky wings of bluebird, the track of lion, the wet bramble of the brook and the dapple of light under this tree, and this tree, and this one too– each rolling endlessly out along the ridges & valleys of this fine wild earth, each rooted in their own time, and space– each one a home, a member of a family it takes lifetimes to meet, so vast it spans worlds, worlds–

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should we stay or should we go? whether rooted in one place, in resolute joy, in relationship to one tree, or walking the soft ground that connects them to each other, and us to each particular of the breathing, laughing, dying-and-being-born world of sense we call forest, a day in the wild is an opening into infinity.

‘the clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.’ — john muir

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4 thoughts on “the clearest way into the universe

  1. Beth Probst says:

    Love this! I live in a county where trees outnumber people by the thousands so they have a special meaning to me. This post really resonated with me. Thanks for writing!

  2. ourwildhearts says:

    thank you for taking time to share! I’m glad it resonated. love the visual of trees outnumbering people by the thousands. 🙂

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