When I first started camping, I was intimidated by spending time alone in the forest.
I was overwhelmed by the cacophony of noises like insects humming, branches snapping as they tumbled to the ground, and birds rustling in the trees. Even the sound of leaves crackling under footsteps caused anxiety.
The act of standing still amongst thousands of trees huddling around me was scary.
Fearful thoughts plagued my mind, of hidden and camouflage animals lurking in the forest waiting to attack.
I did not feel connected to nature back then. I did not understand its pulse.
It was unfamiliar.
Earth in its natural raw form felt foreign.
I did not see my place in nature. I felt small, insignificant and dwarfed by the height of the treetops.
I was a wary outsider.
I’ve had to learn how to integrate myself into the forest, which came with pushing through my fears and spending time in it.
My comfort developed with simple acts, like setting up my hammock to rest or sitting down at the base of a tree to read a book.
Sometimes I can’t believe this city girl has made it this far!
I question – why did I keep camping and spending time in nature if I felt so uncomfortable in it initially?
Because I always left the woods feeling improved from when I entered.
A bit more grounded.
A bit lighter.
And more at ease.
I was addicted to feeling better.
I am in awe of trees.
I have formed a familiarity with them now.
When I am in nature, I feel this remarkable energy exchange. It’s like a transference of power between myself and the trees around me.
I sense their wisdom, their stoicism, and their ancient majestic strength. I get to hold on to all those qualities and they become part of me.
Being alone in the forest is humbling. I’m still a visitor, but I imagine that I am an extension of the trees and their branches run through me. We are family.
I become whole again.
Among the trees my fears dissolve.
My anxieties dissipate into irrelevance.
My inadequacies don’t seem to matter.
I feel powerful. Almost invincible.
I start to feel like a giant compared to the issues around me. I become the giant Redwood, Baobab, or Yang Na Yai tree.
What was once suffocating is now liberating because I opened myself up to receive.