Wind blew across the mountain all weekend. On Saturday, it was rainy and windy. On Sunday it was sunny and windy. When I returned to the cabin after running errands, I had to stop the car, get out and pick up branches before I could get up my lane and back down my driveway.
The wind blew mostly from the northwest, though even that swirled around and tossed leaves in many directions. I spent much of Sunday afternoon out in the woods. The sound of the wind was with me every step of the way, blocking out any other forest sounds. Missing was the usual sound of squirrels scurrying or deer trying to step lightly through dry leaves. I felt hampered by the loss of that sense, forced to rely solely on sight to notice what was around me.
That made observation more difficult than I would have guessed. My eye was drawn to motion, which meant I saw a lot of leaves blowing across the mountain. Normally, I rely on hearing to alert me to something interesting and then follow-up with looking towards the sound. Deprived of hearing, suddenly everything caught my eye. That turned out to be both fascinating and frustrating.
Even in ways I don’t expect, a few hours in the woods teaches me yet another lesson, one that I wouldn’t have experienced if I’d stayed inside. My inside environment, even in a small cabin, is a controlled one. Outside I don’t control anything, and I must react to what’s around me, whether it’s wind or sun or a herd of deer. That’s yet another reason why being in the outdoors is so different than working in a business or sitting in a house. That façade of control that we humans seem to value so much is torn away, even about little things. In the outdoors, you have to let go of that, if you really want to see and experience what’s out there.