Friday, February 24, 2012

A Walk Through the Woods in Winter

"It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit." - Robert Louis Stevenson

     I once told someone that when I'm not holding Cheerio eating contests with myself, I'm usually running blindly through the woods on invisible quests of imponderable insignificance. They have to be quests, you see, because it runs contrary to my nature to go walking in the woods merely for the sake of walking in the woods. If I can convince myself that such a venture is not a mere venture, but actually an adventure, then I am satisfied in my productivity, and I can enjoy the journey for all it's idealistic and swashbuckling journeyness.
     I was upon one such quest the other day; a quest that, unlike many of my other quests, actually had a destination. Legend had told of a natural spring, hidden within nearly fifty acres of dense forest, from which continuously flowed an abundance of clear, fresh water. Beside this hidden spring, so the legend went, there hung a tin cup with which to drinketh of the waters of the spring. This sounded Holy Grailish enough for me, so donning my winter coat and imaginary chain mail, I set out like Ponce de León in search of the Fountain of Youth. 
     Suffice it to say, I was just as successful as León was. I failed twice to discover this elusive tin cup; a fact that, simply in the failure itself, carried the significance of León's expedition. This was strangely comforting. Despite my disappointing results, however, the means had justified the end. I had tromped through cedar forest and swamp, whipping out the camera like a rapier when interesting compositions doth blocked my way, and I discovered that Stevenson was right. Forests do have a singular captivating power about them that is hard to find anywhere else. God seems to have imbued the trees with that spark of prehistoric nobility that whispers specialness in the wind. No mere quest, regardless of its productivity or significance, can take the place of that.

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