“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life…” Excerpt from Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Yes, I went to live deliberately for two and a half days, and I didn’t even have to screw over an Irishman in order to do it. (if you don’t know what that means, take a closer look at Walden…)
I wish I could live out in the woods deliberately, as Thoreau so beautifully stated. I came close this week when I had the opportunity to spend time at a cute cabin, complete with a name carved on the outside, “Raglan’s Roost,” with friends. The two nights spent there were great. I felt full of energy, even with the two pounds of bacon (and who knows how many pounds of cheese…) consumed by only four people. I felt inspired the entire time. What is it about watching the bird and squirrels eat peanuts from the comfort of a rocking chair? The air smelled sweet and fresh. The sunlight woke us up.
“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.” Walden, too…
I really did feel this way. Cheerful… like Mother Nature was inviting me to have a great day with her. I like living simply. I tried not to use my phone, which was easy because we had no service. I didn’t have my Kindle, but a real book of short stories. I wrote… on PAPER!! Let me tell you, I have a love/hate relationship with that. It’s nice to get an entire paragraph out quickly by typing fast. It takes time to write and the thoughts need to come out more deliberately. I think twice before each sentence. It was a good thing to get back to, if even for only two days. I rarely think to write with a pen and paper at home. It struck me how this all of a sudden made sense. Why not write on a real sheet of paper? I’m up in the mountains, after all. It simply felt right.
This is where I did that writing!
I drank way toooo much coffee.
We took two hikes total and walked along a river bed!
I wound up with two small scratches on my left ankle. NOT BAD!!! Greg and I were both worried I’d come out with way worse.
The uphill hike… WORTH IT!
Did I ever mention that I love cows? I do. Happy cows make my day. Unhappy cows make me cry.
When we were out by the cabin we heard a loud “mooooo!” and little did we know, the cows were just down the hill from where we were. The dog we were with chased after them and so we hiked down the small distance and saw not one, not two… but a FAMILY of cows!!!! They’re honestly a little bit intimidating. I knew they wouldn’t charge. But I still ran away from them.
At the end of the day we played games. Thanks to Misty and Mackenzie (who invited us to the cabin in the first place) we now have a fun game called Chicken Foot under our belt. Get some dominos and have a ball! Call us for a fun night playing this! We’ll teach you how!!
And we played some scrabble…. Which I have never won in my life. I did score a 22, though. My highest scoring word yet. We were using a dictionary from the 80’s that didn’t yet have the word “Qi” in it, so my real glory moment was dashed to smithereens. It’s okay. I got over it.
The big question is this: Does being out in the wilderness really make a big difference creatively? I think in some ways, yes. I had peace and quiet, along with plenty of time to sit and ponder life. Being there made me want to be healthy so that I could keep up with what nature had in store for us. It’s not easy to climb a mountain or keep your balance in a river. It’s so fun to do it, though! When I sat down to write I wanted to look at the birds instead of my paper, truth be told. Nature is quite distracting, but in a great way. Sometimes it’s good to be distracted. We need to let our minds clear out of work and stress. I had to focus on the pine scent that came with the breeze and the sound of a raven in the distance, which was a great break from the constant rambling in my head. “Have I written enough today? Will that agent send me something other than a rejection letter? Should I self-publish? I’m hungry.” It calmed my nerves to simply settle down and notice the simple things in life, like a huge ground squirrel being chased by a tiny squirrel half its size. I find that I live more “deliberately” when I have something to do. I think of my ideas when I’m at work!
I’d like to know if people feel their best, creatively, or otherwise, when they venture out into nature. OR is it your comfort zone, like being at home, that makes you produce your best work? Does it depend on what the goal is? Does in depend on the day? Week? Year?
Let me know! :)
TRIP MADE POSSIBLE BY THIS AWESOME FAMILY!!!!!! We love the Bishops!!! :)
August 23, 2012 at 3:58 AM
Sounds so wonderful! Much easier to be creative and inspired away from distractions of home, but I also like to be productive at home. Right now I want your vacation at that cabin…but BUSY starts NOW with back to school! Love you! ox!
August 23, 2012 at 5:04 PM
Can’t wait to hear updates from the school year!! I’m sure some fun blogs are in store!! The cabin WAS wonderful, and I’m working on being productive at home, too!!! love you all!!!
August 24, 2012 at 5:59 AM
Interesting perspective. I think that I’ve found using nature & quiet times as a way to declutter my addlepated brains. Like cleaning the kitchen gives want fresh enthusiasm for cooking the next meal (well, maybe enthusiasm is too strong a word choice.). After a nice quiet bike ride, walk, or even work out I always find my intellect refreshed & reinvigorated. I can only imagine hownmuchnfreater the effect is on a sharper & fresher brain such as yours. Keep writing! This is good stuff!
August 24, 2012 at 6:04 PM
Thanks for commenting!! You are right… doing something as simple as cleaning can also do this, but on different levels!! Inspiration can come in so many ways and for so many different things. Some days I need inspiration for the simplest task. Other days I can take on the world without much of a push. I know I have it easy right now… I’m sure there’s much different needs for you- with all of the little ones you have running around! And I WILL keep writing. Thanks!!!!!!!
August 24, 2012 at 6:01 AM
Stupid iPad keyboard. “hownmuchnfreater” was supposed to be “how much greater”. Clearly I need to go declutter what’s left of my intellect before I start typing in Pentecostal tongues.
August 24, 2012 at 6:06 PM
haha I can’t lie… I was wondering! Thanks for clarifying!!!
August 28, 2012 at 6:46 PM
So funny you wrote about this- I had a similar week the same week! I went camping in the Sequia National Forest (with no service) and figured I’d be inspired and free from the distractions of home. INSTEAD, I got nothing done. For me, I just wanted to soak up the present. Swimming, hiking, laughing, and campfires don’t exisit at home and I didn’t want to miss out. The other thing I felt was that my work seemed very insignificant compared to the majesty of my surroundings. (that might be the cheeziest sentence I’ve ever written). But truly- the huge mountains, beautiful lake and ancient trees made my dumb musings about life feel, well, dumb. Now, I don’t think they are dumb but I do think, in a real and humble way, that they are. And I’m kind of glad. Thank God the world exists outside of me and my writing!