Life makes more sense in the woods |

Life makes more sense in the woods

The more I watch what’s going on in the world, the more I appreciate leaving it for a nice long hike.

Turning your back on this goofy world and heading for the wilderness works wonders in the mind. With every crunch of a leaf underfoot, the cares of life turn to laughter. Each overture of wind in the distance fills me with anticipation.

Ravens gargle and caw. Squirrels whistle. Unintelligible sounds of nature are better than hearing reports that the ACLU is harassing the Boy Scouts of America for donating to the troops, and the Humane Society is protesting hunters who give meat to homeless people. These are riddles worth pondering, but today the croak of a frog on a dry hill side makes more sense.

The clamor and clash of the city is far behind, languishing lifeless in a forgotten past.

There is no spoiling the silent, simple flood of solitude. Out here, exposure and seclusion, distress and contentment, may be the same. Nature is incapable of hurting itself. Fresh voices, the ancient language of rocks, time and whole earth fill me without speaking.

The message is clear. This is the real world. Here, the answers are final.

Prepared or not, come night or sharp hunger, I prefer to keep on going. New trails appear. I take them. Around every bend I can see myself just up ahead, looking around the next bend in the trail. Beyond one of them may be the magical point of no return.

Desolation Wilderness is a magnet. I can feel the pull. It is almost impossible to resist, like Alice in Wonderland.

I’d rather face the ridiculous, inevitable and the unknown deep in the forest than in the coziness and convenience of civilization. But thoughts of a regular shower and a comfortable chair squash my bravado. Eventually, reluctantly, I decide to penetrate no further. It is getting late and cold. Life in survival mode will have to be continued in town.

The long walk back to my car begins with a tinge of regret. Finally, with a sigh and a smile, I work my tired bones in to the grand comfort of the driver’s seat.

Luxury? Or living wild and free? Should I pity the poor frog in drought, or envy him? The dilemma is vaporized by the ignition of a V-8 engine.

Back in town it’s the real world too, I guess. The traditional Thanksgiving Day opening of ski season is a major bust. Tahoe City is nearly a ghost town. The lake level is dropping and the beaver lodge on the north side of the dam is gone. The aspens and other deciduous trees are completely free of leaves, letting in more sun and blue sky. Two kids meander down the bike trail wearing T-shirts. Their pants are properly belted at the waist.

Some towns and cities in America are passing laws banning the wearing of pants below the waist. Wait, that makes sense. What’s up with that? How can a belt hold up pants around that rather active area of one’s anatomy anyway, especially while walking?

The question should be closely studied. We might discover the secret of how pants defy gravity before too many more kids end up with their heads in their boxer shorts.

Now that we have a woman running for president, I wonder how long it will be before the first presidential candidate appears with his boxers showing and his belt around his thighs. Some of their heads already touch bottom. When they start wearing their pants, or skirt below their major attributes it will be the end of social and political strides. They won’t be able to make it to the first debate without falling down.

I’m afraid if my love for wilderness excursions keeps getting interrupted by the snail’s pace of presidential campaign coverage on TV, I might come down with a bad case of electile dysfunction.

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