A shiver in the woods

Stepping out onto a trail, whether I’m alone or with people, is my drug.  It doesn’t need to be a steep, long, arduous trail; it can be short wander down a path and back.  Just the act of putting one foot in front of the other, without being on a sidewalk and watching for cars or cyclists, is reassuring.  Watching the dappling of the sunshine change among the graveled path, hearing the wind whispering to you through the canopy is the perfect balm to my harried soul.

I’m the one that is silent, mostly, while walking.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy the company of my hiking buddies, or that I am sour at being in the woods away from my phone or what-have-you.  It is simply that the woods silence my need to speak, and spur my need to feel.  Sometimes, this is difficult for my hiking buddies to understand.  Most people come alive in the woods, waxing philosophical or energetic as the shackles of modern society fall away from their ankles.  I too am alive–perhaps the most alive–in the woods, I just don’t feel the need to speak.  The woods do that for me.

If you listen, you can hear what they say.  For brevity’s sake, I won’t try to translate all of it.  Besides, that takes the fun out of the walk for you.  Your walk, in your woods, wherever that is, is your own.  You will hear as much or as little as you want.  I hear different things, depending on my mood, the weather, the season, the company, and the situation in the world I’ve walked out of, even if it just is for a few miles.

 More than what I hear though, or see, is what I feel. In the summer, a breeze sends the leaves into a shiver: thankful that the hot air is moving around instead of staying stagnant. In the fall, a too-strong footfall sends a shiver through the dry crunchy leaves through which we all love to frolick.  A snowball in winter, missing its human target, can send a shiver up a tree..and down a human spine as a shower of powder trickles from the sky.

Above all though, any time, any season, any weather…if you stand still enough, for long enough, on your walk in the woods, you’ll feel a shiver. A shiver in the air, or in your soul, of things that are, that were, and that could be. If you take the time to go for a walk, and listen.

First stab at the Daily Post Prompt, with the word of the day being “shiver.”


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