Strawberry kisses on my neck, orange blossom scenting the air, we throw on our packs and head into the forest. The tart tang of wine on our breathe and we feel invincible. Abi sniffs a fern and eats a blade of sweet-grass. We smile at her excitement for the world. Watching her bloom like the forest, coming alive with every new encounter stirs me with pride. Our family has grown and the incredible feeling of heart-warmth keeps me going.

We pass through lazy streams and duck under low branches, winding our way into the beyond. The air is fresh, crisp, moving, alive. Our bodies are warm, invigorated, pumping life. There is magic everywhere we look. Frogs singing, birds gazing, a baby snake soaking up the sun. The forest responds to our presence with quiet wonder and we in turn show it the respect it shows us. Harmony. Crumbly stones crunching under our boots. Scents of decay, of heat, of pollen filter into our noses. Cycles upon cycles, spiraling around us as we trek through it. The countless wonders to be seen, smelled, heard. Cracking branches, popping water bubbles, squawking birds, buzzing bees.

The pollinators are out, making their effort known. A dance of bees frolicking, jumping into flowers like children cannon-balling into a pool. Sweet, delicious yellow and orange powder thrown joyously from their little bodies. Some sticking to them, others arcing into the sky forming powdery rainbows. A treat to witness. The circles upon circles of life, ever entwined, ever crossing, ever aiding each other, ever battling.

These are the days that remind me how good life is. They keep me strong, clear minded, and wanting to leave the hustle and bustle for a simpler existence. I crave the outdoors, the lone forest trek, a hammock in the shade. Wine under a canopy in silence, in the still. For I much prefer being a silent participant to the dance of life, preferring to close my eyes and soak up the world with my ears, nose, and mouth.

The senses come alive on a warm summer day under the canopy. Blooming, bouncing, springing, winding, trails of sense flow through me. Experience the world with your eyes closed and mind open. Escape yourself. Fall from your consciousness and enter a realm dictated not by sight, but through the scent of the mud, the creak of a limb, the flapping of a wing. Life can be simpler and yet more vibrant when your senses are allowed to function without sight. So the next time you are in the wilderness, find a shady canopy, get comfortable, close your eyes, and fall out of this realm.

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