“You’re a bit of an escapist”, a work colleague stated one wintry Monday morning after I had finished regaling the office with stories of my weekend spent camping & cooking in the woods. “I guess so” I offered in return, not sure at that point quite what I made of the notion.
Fast forward to spring & I awake in my hammock, surrounded by towering trees, bird song rings out, it’s sweet melody pulsing through the woods, a call to prayer in natures temple.
Hiding, unseen, amongst the leaves, the choir of Angels resonates like the Dolby surround sound system in the home of an old girlfriend from a well to do family.
Tendrils of smoke from last nights fire provide a cinematic atmosphere and I know at that moment the answer I should have given – I don’t go to the woods to escape, I go to connect.
To connect with life, real life. The life of the earth. Not of man and machine and industry, that is life for sure but this, this rhythm, this beat of nature, this is life. When the days goals are one of survival – arise, eat, avoid being eaten, drink and if you’re lucky, procreate. Live.
We all have to make a living, it’s a fact of modern life – buy, sell, get a job, get a mortgage but so often it seems to me at least, jobs are jobs for jobs sake.
A generation of men and women working in call centres, customer service, client relations. That’s not to say these jobs aren’t important, that you can’t get job satisfaction but at the end of the day, in the hunter gatherer, animalistic nature of humans, what have we actually done? What have we produced?
More than likely just a pile of paperwork. It’s never ending. Yet if you didn’t do it, what would happen? Not much in all likelihood, the world certainly wouldn’t stop turning. You wouldn’t go hungry, or at least you wouldn’t until you got fired.
So yes, at the end of a busy week pushing paper from one pile into another, I head for the woods. Not to escape but to connect, to connect with what was once important, with what once mattered and although for humans at least what matters may have changed, amongst the chatter of birds and rustling of leaves, surrounded at that particular instant by real life, nothing else matters.