How I go to the woods

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend,

for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable.

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree.

I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned.

I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me,

I must love you very much.”

― Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

27 replies »

  1. Emily, I’ve really become attached and look forward to your postings. Your photography and thoughts are exceptional…sorry I’ve used that descriptor before and can’t find a better one! I hope one day I’ll get a chance to meet you, I think that would be a wonderful professional experience!

    • You are truly too kind Herb, and I am humbled by your enthusiastic response to my posts. Blackwater is having their bald eagle festival in March. I’ll be there with my feathered friends meetup group. Perhaps you will be there?

  2. love this Emily, Ever hugged a tree? Doesn’t do much for me, personally, but running my fingers lightly over leaf and bark and bud, on the other hand…..

    • A fellow bird photographer shared this poem, and it speaks my truth. I really do like being out in nature alone and have fun exploring all the nooks and crannies. Truly my pleasure to share this with you as well.

  3. Emily, I thought you have written the prose since that’s what I envision you to be with your love of nature. In nature and in solitude, your whole being will expand. More than your six senses. I wish I could merge in the photo behind one of those trees. Perpetua.

    • Oh Perpetua, I can only imagine the forests that you have near you. How green and moss filled they must be. It is such a perfect poem to go with this image that I couldn’t imagine one not existing without the other. If only I was such a poet.

      You’re right, In nature and in solitude, one finds themselves.

  4. Yup! That is how I feel also! I love to sing and dance with the plants & animals. Maybe even ding-dong-ditch a brownie house or two. … 😉

  5. Love this! Always wondered if it’s just “not right” to prefer being alone with nature and my camera. And I’ve wondered what someone would think if they came around the bend in the trail and saw an ear-splitting grin on my face because of the pure enjoyment of witnessing something special in nature! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Beautiful. The poem fits so well with the image. I was a literal tree-hugger growing up and I still find the necessity to touch them sometimes as I walk by. Solitude in the woods can be something greater than magic. I love the ending that if you’ve come with me I must have loved you a lot, too true!

    I think I’d have to take a seat on that slab of stone along that trail and write a poem or two. Another post of yours that has me anxious for spring. 🙂

    • Why am I not surprised you are a true earth mother. This poem speaks to my heart and really my philosophy. I am particular who I take on my photo expeditions. I go at my own pace and sometimes people just get in the way.

      This trail was one of the prettiest I have been on. I really wanted to meander along the path, but alas I was with the hiking club and they were on a mission.

      • 😉 You’re going to have to go back and visit it then!

        I’ve not participated in any group photography outings but I’m certain I’d be a bit more anxious out in the woods with others, though I’m sure being with other photogs helps. It does seem that it others might get in the way and whether they mean to or not I’d feel rushed and distracted.

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