“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life; living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live, just for a little while, in the woods? To become part of the intricate weave of nature, to live simply, eagerly drinking in all of God’s beauty around you? For many people, spending time living in the woods is a life-enriching experience that they won’t soon forget. But for nearly all people, just being in nature for a while has been proven to be highly therapeutic.
Here are just some of the reasons why leaving the hustle and bustle of city life behind for a while may need to be something you put on your “to-do list.”
1. You feel small
Yes, that’s right, I said small. Far too often we think too highly of ourselves and our neat urban lifestyle. A move to the woods where the trees are big, the moon is big, and you are somewhat vulnerable to the natural life teeming around you, makes you feel small. Feeling small helps remind you of your own natural state and be bigness of God. This is a very humbling experience to say the least.
2. You realize what you really need
Do you need your Dish Network with 170 channels to survive? What about your expensive Italian leather sofa or your 12-inch memory foam mattress? Chances are, these are nothing but luxuries that you have become accustomed to, and they certainly are not necessary for you to live a long and happy life.
What about thinking about just what you need to survive, the essentials? When you spend time living in the woods either in a small cabin or even a yurt or wall tent, you begin to appreciate just how few things you need to live. This is another great wake-up call that keeps you humble.
3. You learn new skills
If you are not accustomed to anything but city life, moving to the woods will require you to learn some new skills: whether it be building, growing food, hunting, fishing, building a fire, etc. Take time to embrace the opportunity to learn these new things and work with your hands and be creative while you are at it.
4. You de-stress
Many people living in busy urban centers carry with them a great amount of daily living stress. Running here and there, working long hours at work and keeping a busy social schedule leave little time for peace and quiet. A move to the woods demands one to slow down and be still. At first, this may be almost impossible, depending on how stressed you are. However, over time, the peace and perfectness of nature will begin to calm your soul, and you will find yourself more relaxed than you have ever been before.
Often, people recovering from illness retreat to the woods for solace and healing. Spending time apart from your busy life will help to put things into perspective and allow you to value each day for what it really is.
If you aren’t sure where to begin with your in-the-woods venture, be sure to do research before heading out. Perhaps you will rent a small cabin, build your own place or live in a yurt or a tent. The best thing is to be prepared and know at least a little bit about what to expect before you make the move. Then, simply enjoy it all.
What advice would you add? What would you put on the list? Share your thoughts in the section below: