Caro from Lotsafreshair published a blog post on Monday asking readers “How does wilderness make you feel?” and, since I didn’t have a blog post ready for publishing this week, I thought I’d answer her question here.
It wasn’t until I started writing this that I realised… I don’t really have a word for it either.
The German’s have some brilliant words that don’t have English equivalents, so waldeinsamkeit – the feeling of being alone in the woods – was the first thing that came to mind. But that really doesn’t say enough to cover how hiking makes me feel. I’m sure the perfect word for it does exist in some other language.
It’s frustrating because, when it comes down to it, the main reason I go hiking is to obtain that feeling.
The perfect example of what I’m talking about happened a few weeks ago. We took the kidlets for a day trip to Marysville. It was an early start after a crappy night’s sleep. We got there and the road we wanted to take was closed. The town was one giant traffic jam. We were all grumpy and snapping at each other. Then we started hiking and within a few minutes, everything felt different. We didn’t have to try to calm ourselves down or think differently. It just happened.
I described this feeling pretty well in a previous blog post about why I hike alone (go and have a read if you haven’t already), and I used the word “connected”. Maybe that’s it. “Oneness” is another word that works similarly. Both convey the sense that you’re part of something bigger. Connected to each other and this earth we so like to walk. This is probably what invokes the calm feeling that I’m trying to describe.
I decided to follow Caro’s lead and also tried to find a song to help describe it. The song below has no words but has been toted as ‘the most relaxing tune ever made’, so creates a similar feeling. I need to start listening to this all day, every day since, you know, I can’t go hiking every day.
Want to add your two cents? Head over to Caro’s blog post and do it in the comments.