By Caitlin Climes

I run to the woods to seek shelter from a world that is foreign to me.

A world that tries to seduce me with the false security of money and a lifestyle that devoids me of my sense of self, my connection to our life force, and my feelings of wholeness.


I usually stand my ground, keep my feet firmly planted, and sing a song of subtle rebellion.


But, today I retreat.


I retreat to the soft grass of the purple flower field. The ground caressing my bare feet, away from a world that says this is childish play. I retreat to the sun sparkling through the trees, away from a world that asks me to shield my face from the wounds of the world that sears my eyes. I retreat to the soothing water that supports my weight, away from a world that often feels like I’m struggling just to stay afloat.


I retreat to the warmth of the fire, for this is where I feel most at home.


I retreat not because I’m weak, but because by returning to the woods, I’m reminded of the strength that always exists within me.


I’m reminded of a place within me that is good. A place where I don’t have to put armor up to protect my fragile, delicately beating heart from the pain it sees in the world. In the woods, my heart beats with the rhythm of the wind, rising and falling with the setting of the sun over the still waters of the lake.


The sunset hues of pink, orange, and purple remind me that just as the colors change, so too do my emotions. And although I usually try to fight what I’m feeling in the other world, it’s okay to let those emotions spill over into a watercolor of endless proportions while I’m here in the woods.


In the woods, I don’t try to stop my tears, I don’t try to wipe them away before someone sees. I let them fall to honor the beauty I’m surrounded by, fully knowing what I’m experiencing is a gift of the greatest love.


I return to the woods for healing on every level — peace of mind, connection to my physical body, and a chance to remember the Spirit we are all a part of.


As I retreat, I’m reminded I’m the instrument, not the director. It’s the dance that is dancing me, a dance that I’m not in control of, a dance that is more beautiful than I could imagine in my wildest dreams.


It’s the sun I feel on my skin that’s a reflection of the expression of light that I already am. The lake a passage of communication with the water that creates my physical body. The fire, a rhythm that aligns with the Spirit that moves through me.


I run to the woods to speak with the ancestors, ground my heart for the new generation, and learn to breathe without restraint once again.


I return to the woods to find myself, and in doing so, a deep inner knowing arises that we are all connected.


I retreat to the woods to remember this.


To remember that the love we all deserve and the light that we already are is always within us, waiting to be remembered.


No matter how far we may stray.


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