A Human Animal

Spending alone time in nature is vastly different than venturing out with friends. In solitude things are noticed differently, possibly more intently. But with friends topics are discussed and can be viewed with different explanations. My experiences in the woods have been shaped drastically by who I am with and what I am doing. In this awareness, I am often reminded that the woods serve as a space for us to interact with nature in a controlled environment.  

Alone time in the woods is often spiritual for me, a time of reflection and a space for me to reset. I am able to take the time to center myself with nature and collect my thoughts. As a Quaker, I am not bound to one space where I must worship and worshipping in nature has always been something that is nourishing for me. The woods have served as a space where I can escape to when I am in need of alone time or have a lot on my mind that I want to work through. This time spent in the woods in solitude has allowed for a deeper personal connection to the area, and an understanding of the natural space. 

On the other hand, the woods have also served as a social space for me. In my four years spent at Guilford I have spent many days exploring the woods with friends, and several nights venturing out to bonfires in small groups. I look back on these experiences with a sense of peace and fondness, feeling fortunate to have had such a space to make special memories. 

Our human interaction with nature is often one where we are removed from the natural landscape except for when we choose to insert ourselves in to it. The woods serve as an example of this. Our concept of what “life” is unfolds only in the spaces that we have set aside for our own use. We go about our daily lives in the developed parts of campus and are largely unaware of the whole other world that exists within the woods, even when some of us sleep within inches of it every night.  Only those who choose to wander come know what survives beyond the confines of our community. 

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