Nature has its Own "Weapons of Awareness"
Over the last two months, I’ve been doing a bit more off-trail hiking (aka ”bushwhacking”) than usual.
On a recent walk with Triangle Land Conservancy on their not-yet-developed Walnut Hill property (envisioned to be similar to Umstead, located in southeast Wake County, NC) the chigger bites helped me to be aware of my body, my skin for that day and the entire next week (“how could something so small leave such large and itchy and long-lasting welts?”).
Similarly, after a REI Map & Compass course held at Blue Jay Point where we intentionally went off trail – to get lost, so as to use tools to get found again – there was increased awareness. With each off-trail step, I paid attention to the possibility of critters (snakes?) and plants (poison ivy?) while puzzling my way out of the woods using map and compass rather than dead reckoning and intuition.
Without the watch-out-for buggy-crittery-planty concerns, would I be as present in each moment? My guess is no, so in a way I am grateful for nature’s annoyingness that keeps me aware, and alive to each moment.
Photo - Creative Commons (Kerry Wixted)