Up north, where the paved highway gives way to old asphalt then gravel and finally dirt, tall northern pines grow in height and mass.
I took a walk through the woods this weekend, alone, searching for quiet or at least reprieve. And, I noticed my view of the woods changes on a given day, depending on the state of my mind.
Sometimes, the pine trees look menacing to me, like barriers closing in. My mind fills with what if’s and I rummage through contingency plans for escape. Other times, the trees stand tall and open. They guide me up towards the clear blue sky. I follow their trunks down to forest floor — soft in its layer upon layer of pine needles and moss, and protective with its offerings of shade and shelter and periodic sun beams throughout.
How can I see the same picture in such extremes?
Depression is so subtle.It settles quietly, and I don’t notice until it lifts.
I made my way through the woods, through shadows from trees and deep sand in the dirt road. I kept looking down to find my footing. My head swelled. Until, finally, there was a break. An opening. The sun. And a one lane bridge built precariously over a small stream.
I stood there, on the bridge, for several minutes, unwilling to turn back. I held my breath and burned the image into my brain: water over rocks, bees on flowers, the sun. The clearing.