Regardless of the sociological implications, the research conducted, the texts on solitude and wilderness referenced, and the papers written, I still sometimes marvel at my love of solitude in nature. As a sociologist, I can examine the qualitative and the ethnographic research, I can examine data sets, code and draw conclusions, but as a poet, I can “feel” the impact a life in nature has had on me. This poem explains my feelings about nature just as well as my sociological research about nature.
I have walked these river valleys
Through towering groves, mid-day sun
Piercing the canopy
Illuminating the forest floor, revealing
All is still but the water – rushing on
Making its way to the sea.
I have climbed the heights
Through meadows heady with scents,
I have camped the shores
Of alpine lakes in early summer, their water
Full of winter’s snow – floating like
Tiny white islands.
I have stretched out in reverie
Beside glistening tarns, watching clouds float across
A deep blue sky;
I have on boulder perched
In twilight, as darkness grew
The heavens revealed – in all its
I love unfeeling nature,
She bears no mind, reminding me of man’s nothingness
Of frail humanity;
Nature’s beauty needs, desires, no courting
Open and giving her trees shade
The wicked and the good, her cool waters –
Wet the lips of all who come.
Fierce unforgiving nature,
In reverence and awe I traverse
Hallowed halls and cathedrals;
Creations of brick and mortar are devoured
Natures system of sustenance, self-governing
And independent, is perfect –
Scornful of man.
Nature is adventure
The only real experience of wits, where men
Learn their place;
Not the excursions of presidents and dignitaries
Mule train in tow, you’ve seen the pictures
With fully equipped Chinese chef –
Catering to every need.
Nature must be experienced
Not surveyed from heights, but viscerally
Boots to ground is fealty’s only access,
Not with fellow fondly met
But taken in solitude – with what
The wanderer can carry.
I know my humanness
Nature in all her fatal grandeur teaches me
To commune with nature in its perfect order
Is to understand that the power to subdue,
Fragile and sacred – is an
Oracle of holy oblation.
I have stood at the edge of heaven
And seen the majesty
Of all creation;
I have knelt in awed repose
Before His hand in humble adoration
That for I, this world created – is a shadow
Of things to come.