Introvert Things: Nature Walks

Natural steps on a hiking trail up Mount Major.

The woods and mountains offer the introverted person a place for solace and solitude, where mundane worries & problems fade away when faced with the magnitude of the natural world. As Wordsworth wrote: “The world is too much with us; late and soon, / Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;– / Little we see in Nature that is ours; / We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!”

How many of us have lost sight of true happiness when faced with the pressures of time (“late and soon”) and money (“Getting and spending”)? These are the problems that stem from too much time spent in throngs of people, in a society that corrupts the child’s soul into that of the adult. We forget to look at the world with the same awe children show, wide-eyed and fascinated with a butterfly or a bird.

Me, atop Mount Cardigan.

Hiking mountains, walking in the woods, sitting by the ocean, & gardening bring me back into nature, as a powerful restorative force. All too often my own goals & ambition, the stress of deadlines & anxiety from trying to please other people, burden my introvert’s soul. Soon, my own happiness then becomes shelved in hopes of meeting the expectations of others. My life then no longer remains my own. That’s when I know I need to go back.

Writers like Emerson & Thoreau understood this all too well. Thoreau reminds us that when we think we own things, property or livestock, the irony is that those things then own us. We become yoked to the material possessions & standard of living we long to sustain. And in that routine, practical, mechanical life, we gradually lose our soul; it wastes away, little by little.

My feet, atop Mount Kearsarge.

Nature reminds us that life is fragile, ephemeral, fleeting, that one’s body is a temporary vessel. As John Muir wrote: “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. / Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. / The winds will blow their freshness into you… / while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

The magic of nature restores that life force, our souls. We see the bigger, metaphysical picture, & we feel reassured.

The woods beyond the farm’s field and orchard offer great trails for a daily constitutional with family.

For me, I’ve loved time alone in nature, strolling along & observing all the wonders. The farm blesses me with so many of such treasures that I feel like Emerson: “When I bought my farm I did not know what a bargain I had in the bluebirds, daffodils, and thrushes; as little did I know what sublime mornings and sunsets I was buying.

Yet, the lakes & ocean move me, too. The key is just being outdoors in the natural world.

Summiting.

Thankfully for me, New Hampshire holds many easy to challenging day hikes on mountain trails, many yielding spectacular views. And I have to say that for greater periods of exertion I need that reward.

Those views make me feel of enormity of not only this world but our whole galaxy & universe. It’s a truly humbling feeling, realizing that you are so puny, so insignificant, with that context of the infinite beyond.

Me, atop Mount Monadnock.

That statement by Emerson, “Lose yourself in nature and find peace,” holds true for me.

Like other introverts, in nature, I find myself. Nothing can provide a substitute.

Me, atop Mount Belknap.

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