Pondering trees is something you are actually allowed to do. You could also climb them. When we make it to adulthood we can do anything we want to. Although we are all grown-ups, we sometimes worry about how we might look to other people. I might go for a hike, but I could never just lay down on the grass and look up into the sky. Someone might see me, have an opinion about my behavior, and maybe even think I was crazy. Is this just something that’s only in my head, a rule I think exists but no one else follows?
Is it really possible anymore to just go out and stand in the middle of a meadow and just…stand there? Or stop along the hiking trail and not reach your destination? If we look at the purpose of our outdoor activities, it’s where we can breathe deeply. It’s where we can see a long way, where the sun hits our skin and warms it. Out of doors is the place of vitality, of growth, of limits that are far off from our sight.
It is a place full of life. Small things move under the grass, wings fly overhead, and moisture and nutrients are drawn up through trunks. Green fuels life, and sun creates the green. It is mysterious and unstoppable. It is full of invisible processes that we cannot measure with our eyes. It’s that mystery that draws us out.
Would people come to an event where they just go outside without activities? If there was a conference called “Standing Under Trees” would anyone come? What if we called it “Nature Immersion”? What we would do is be outside, and not do something else. I think it’s time for the movement of standing still. In the woods, under a tree. Or you could climb one instead.