I Find Respite in the Woods

We all find our places of escape where we can. Having grown up in the Evergreen State and not far from both the vast forests of Mt. Rainier and the green refuge of the Olympic Peninsula’s rain forest, I have always found trees and wooded places a comfort and a place of safety and reassurance. No matter how deep the sorrow and pain, I have found strength returning to me and a gentling of the spirit poured on my woundedness in those times spent in the protective forest greenery. When I can spend time among the trees and relish their distinctive and individual beauties, I find myself rescued and my hope renewed.digital illustration

To the Woodland

Cedar, bless me with your resinous breath,

And oak, stretch down those knotted arms to me

And close me in, so others cannot see

My sorrow as I stand so near to death—

I come here to the woodland for relief

Among the leafy shadows of the glade,

Hoping to leave my sadness where I’ve laid

It here, a monument in shade to grief—

Sweet birches, bend your green to veil my tears

And weep with all the willows, as I do;

Great trees, for graces have I come to you

Each time that I grew mournful through the years—

I come here to the woodland for relief

And leave a monument, in shade, to grief.

This mottled darkness will give way to sun

Anon, as time flows on, and so shall I;

The dead still sleep, no matter how I cry,

And I must live, or my own death’s begun—

And I’ve much yet to live, and purpose find

In bringing others light who, too, repine

That have no pine-groves filled with peace like mine

As balm and rescue for a troubled mind—

Who know not aspens’ kindly whispered care—

Should all seek peace and comfort in the wood,

These mercies surely better us, their good

And healing gifts send us renewed from there—

So we’ll go to the woodland for relief

And leave in shade, as we emerge, our grief.digital illustration

21 thoughts on “I Find Respite in the Woods

  1. I feel the same way about trees and woods. You’re lucky you grew up in such an area rich with trees! We have them close by and I always love the smell and feeling I get when I’m amongst them. Beautiful poetry and lovely art!

  2. This post was awesome! Trees provide so much to us humans. Many don’t see the potential of trees and it’s sad. I find so much solace laying on the ground watching the leaves blow and the crown sway in the breeze…🌳

    • Oh, yes, that’s a wonderful way to appreciate trees. I’m so grateful our own trees here were untouched by the speedy storm that hit parts of town rather hard on Friday. Tons of trees damaged, some big ones down. We didn’t even get an actual tornado, but the wind knocked off a couple of roofs and the hail massacred a number of cars. Our place was completely bypassed, and the first thing we checked when we got out of the hailstorm and off the freeway was how our lovely oaks and flowering pears and all of our saplings survived, and there was hardly a mark on any of them. Thank goodness! So I can still get my at-home dose of tree love any time. 🙂

  3. This is a beautiful post. I am a tree hugger from way back. When feeling down or troubled, hugging a tree makes me feel grounded and loved. I am envious of you growing up around such beauty.

  4. Oh, this is beautiful, Kathryn, your poem and your art. I have to agree with you that the mountains are also my favorite place and secondly would be the beach…now that we’re in northern Cal., I’m just as in awe of the redwoods as my hubby has always been! 🙂 Lovely post! xo

    • The west coast has such an embarrassment of riches when it comes to natural resources, doesn’t it. Mountains, ocean, rivers, rainforests, redwoods, and so much more! I find it hard to imagine how anyone could live a full life without at least visiting such a region, myself, but then I’m sure that there are people in every clime and locale who would think I suffered the same deprivation by not knowing *their* favorite natural resources. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.
      xoxo 🙂

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