Skip to main content

Put Some Woods On It

I'm starting to feel like the character of the Greek father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding--the one who recommends Windex as a miracle cure. 

"Put some Windex on it!" he recommends, for everything from warts to blemishes.

My drug of choice, however, is the woods.

It has snowed here recently--a lot.  I'm not sure how much is on the ground at the moment... something between 12" and 24" at a guess.  And I've been grateful for my mom's gift of a pair of snowshoes.

U.S. Forestry Service photograph
They are so much lighter and easier to use than the pair I once owned--can it really be twenty-five years ago?--that I was initially really surprised at how much I hurt after I had been snowshoeing for a few minutes.  Not an all-over, out of shape kind of a hurt, but a very specific, hard pain, in my hip muscles, with a little answering pain in my knee tendons.

Now, I have been somewhat duck-footed all my life, but it has seemed to me that, in the last year or so, since I had severe problems with my lower back, it has been worse.  No tracker could fail to pick out my footprints in a crowd--I am always the most splay-footed set of tracks around.

I have wondered if something about how my feet or hips align contributed to my back problems, or if my back problems caused my odd gait.  Perhaps it is a bit of both, but it is certainly clear that as I have aged, my body has begun to twist and gnarl like an apple tree.  This is disconcerting.

The pain in my hips was as tight as a charley-horse at first, and I had to stop often.  After a while, however, it eased as the muscles warmed and stretched, and by the end of the walk, I was aware of a pleasant ache in my thighs and lower back--the muscles, not the injured disc.

And then, later that day, I thought I felt something different about how I was walking.  I asked Peter to confirm it, and, indeed: my feet are pointing more directly ahead.  Not only that, but my body feels straighter, freer.

Snow-shoeing is physical therapy, apparently.

Now, I could leave it at that, but that would be ungrateful, I think.  Because I know I also noticed last year that not only was walking the best pain reliever for my herniated disc, but walking in the woods was far more helpful than walking on a sidewalk or indoors.

We could, no doubt, analyze the demands made on muscles and joints by both walking on the irregular surface of a woods path or by snowshoeing through deep snow.

But I think I'm going to allow some credit to the woods themselves.  Is it so far-fetched, to think that the woods I love may love me back?

Well, maybe.  But then, too, there is the whole notion of biophilia... the idea that being present with and participating in the natural world can bring us health benefits all on its own.  I am not so sure it is unreasonable to believe that we can be in relationship with specific landscapes, nor that our love for them is unrequited.

Put some woods on that!


Alyss said…
Amen! I do my best thinking in the woods. Not walking in my neighborhood, not even on the beach or out in that giant field I sometimes walk in, but in the deep, wet, steep, tall, dark woods. I like the idea that my love is not unrequited :)
Bright Crow said…

I think I agree with you. Whenever I realize I've crossed that vague, too-burned-out line, I head for the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve north of Jacksonville. It's the closest I can get to real woods, a salt marsh-surrounded sea island in the Intercoastal Waterway.

Yes to biophilia! What a neat notion!

Blessed Be,

Popular posts from this blog

Peter on Grief and Communities

Well, that was unexpected. For the last year, ever since my mom's health took a sharp downturn, I've been my dad's ride to Florence Congregational Church on Sundays. That community has been important for my dad and the weekly outing with me was something he always looked forward to and enjoyed, so I didn't mind taking him there. It meant giving up attending my own Quaker meeting for the duration, but I had already been questioning whether silent waiting worship was working for me. I was ready for a sabbatical. A month ago, my dad was Section-Twelved into a geriatric psych hospital when his dementia started to make him emotionally volatile. I had been visiting him every day at his assisted living facility which was right on my way home from work, but the hospital was almost an hour away. I didn't see him at all for three weeks, and when I did visit him there, it actually took me a couple of seconds to recognize him. He was slumped forward in a wheel chair, lo

What Do You Mean, Quaker Pagan?

"What do you mean, Quaker Pagan? You can't possibly be both!" Every now and then, we do get a comment on the blog that, if politely worded, does drive at basically that point. Usually the critic is a Quaker and a Christian, though I have certainly heard similar points raised by Pagans. Let me state a few things up front. Peter and I both do consider ourselves Pagan. Neither of us considers ourselves to be Christian--I never was one, and Peter hasn't been for decades. And we do consider ourselves to be Quakers... as does our monthly meeting, which extended us membership after the normal clearness process. We consider ourselves Quaker Pagans. (Why not Pagan Quakers? Pure aesthetics; we think the word order sounds better with Q before P.) Here's the argument for why Peter and I can't possibly be both: 1. Paganism is a non-Christian religion. 2. Quakers are a Christian denomination. 3. ERGO... Yes. We've considered that argument, oddly eno

Cat's Spiritual Journey, Part I: Getting (And Losing) That Old Time Religion

All posts in this series: Part I: Getting (and Losing) That Old Time Religion Part II: Coming Home Part III: The Fool's Journey Part IV: The Underworld Part V: Seven of Cups Part VI: A Letter and a Kiss Part VII: Morticia Loves Gomez Part VIII: Nora Part IX: Felicia Hardy and the Tower of Babel Part X: When Babel Fell Part XI: Community 2.0 Part XII: This Forgiveness Stuff From time to time, someone does ask about my spiritual journey. Mainly, it's Quakers, asking about what Paganism is, though sometimes it will be a co-worker, wanting to know more either about how I came to call myself Quaker, or what on earth I mean by Pagan. I should probably mention that, despite my best efforts to be discrete about my religion at work, I was outed as Wiccan within six months of becoming a teacher by kids who know how to use Google. This blog, which at least features current information, that reflects my beliefs and practices in the present, is at least partially a response