The Wilderness Has Made Me Squirrely

My grandchildren tell their friends that their Oma lives on a mountain, in a cabin, in the woods.

I am living a story book life.

My morning alarm is a robin’s trill followed by a choir of chirps and croaks and rustling of trees.

I hear the sun rise.

I step out my door and stand before a thousand foot high wall of evergreens. Clouds of mist drift through town and hang like a garland on their boughs. I feel like I am a part of all this, the sounds, the smells, the mist‘s touch on my skin. The air is alive.

My first year here I fell asleep by the newt pools. I heard laughter, splashing, children and mothers’ voices. I felt a splash and awoke by a large shallow pool. Looking down I saw three well worn steps into the water.This was a summer bathing pool for many before me. I am certain of it.

There is a letting go of old thoughts and ways when you live in the wilderness, a quantum shift of viewpoints happens over time. It is a freeing like no other, when one experiences real, raw nature.

My goal is to harmonize, to feel my connection. When I feel that, it reverberates to the bone, refreshing every cell within.

My friend Meg encouraged me a few years ago to remove my shoes as we hiked to Cedar Flats. I did and had a forest breakdown. I felt the earth under my soles and energy tingle through my feet. We climbed over a large fallen Doug Fir, and I lay there, hugging it, crying and speaking words of appreciation to the mighty tower on the ground.

One year I climbed 170 feet  up into a fir on the way to Stoney Ridge. I hugged that tree too; swaying with a thousand other giants and feeling my heartbeat align with the pulse of the forest.

It can take more than a hundred years for a tree to die. They die from the top down to the earth.

I am a tree hugger, I am not ashamed.

There is nothing quite as startling as coming face to face with a squirrel on the wall as you round the corner. I imagine the squirrel feels the same.

My third year I kept hearing banging drums throughout camp. Several days went by. I asked facilities if they were working on a building project. No – it was the squirrels. Several of them simultaneously were dropping pine cones onto metal roofs. The sound reverberated through town and I swear it sounded like a familiar beat.

I am still wondering why that huge raven paced through town earlier this month. It strolled back and forth, crossed the bridge with a guest, then flew away at the end of the day.

Three times I have held hummingbirds, removing them from inside my cabin, love cabin number nine. They feel lighter than air.

Bats sometimes like to slide down the metal roofs and then fly back to the top, just like children on a slide.

When my sister came for a few days she said it felt like she had been on a deserted tropical island for weeks. No stress, no cares of this world, just sensory heaven.

Imagine the effect of years of that.

When people ask if I live here and I say yes, they often step back and contemplate my answer. Some just look past me and imagine. Some laugh and say something like, “do you pay them to work here?” or “life must be tough.”

One thing is for sure, my life will never be the same.

I march to the beat of a squirrely drum.