Thankful for Starting in the Woods, the Forest, & Beyond the Pines

Day 2,790


Is there any reason I should not start each day in the outdoors, especially in the woods? Starting my day with fresh air brings out the best version of me throughout the day. I’m more motivated, I feel better, I am more awake, and I am so much more aware. My hike in the woods this morning set a very positive course for my entire day.


My hike this morning was truly spectacular, I am beyond appreciative for the natural beauty of the Driftless Region. The trails through the forests on the bluffs are such a gift.

During my time in the woods I was especially focused on all the plant life around me. Each of the trees have their own special features, even within species. At different times I found myself pausing to press my palm against the bark to feel it as well as see it. There I was, pausing on the trail, my eyes looking up the tree, and a hand placed against the bark. Such a wonderful combination of sensations – the rough texture of the shagbark hickory and the view of it towering above me. Such a grounding moment, a moment of realizing just how small I am, a moment of true awe.

The entire hike was a gift to all my senses and to my soul. So much beauty surrounding me, the verdant green all around, the sounds of the birds and the rest of the forest. I even stopped for a moment to savor the sound of two large trees rubbing against each other as they swayed in the wind. It was almost as if they wanted me to know I could appreciate them with yet another sense.

Getting lost in the forest, escaping to the woods, finding peace. I am so thankful for the beautiful forests so near to my home, they are one of my happy places!


As I walked back towards my car there I paused when I started to walk into a beautiful and seemingly out of place stand of pines. The scent of their needles swept over me in the breeze and I just paused. There I stood, paused and still, in heaven on Earth. Everything was so still, so peaceful. There was no stress, no ego, no separation between me and the rest of the forest around me. In an instant we were all one, existing. What a beautiful moment of stillness!

After what could have been a moment or several a song played in my head. It was so fitting for a few reasons based on the location and how I was feeling. The song is Beyond the Pines by Thrice.

Somewhere down the way, there’s a hidden place that anyone, that all of us could find
But our maps have failed, so venture through the veil and realize that these roads are intertwined

Far beyond those walls, gleaming black and white
Further than our false schemes of wrong and right
Is a field where we can walk, leaving all our names behind

I will meet you there, beyond the pines
Templed in twilight or dawn
The light and easy air
Tracing the lines on our palms

Thrice, Beyond the Pines

I’ll forever remember that moment each time I walk through those pines.


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