This is part of something I wrote to my parents after moving here to try to explain my feelings to them. I figured it kinda fits with this thread and
you guys might enjoy reading it, so here goes:
There are several reasons why one might be religious: a psychological desire to fit in with a group or to feel looked after; a feeling of social
pressure, of being expected to hold a set of beliefs; or, perhaps, because that person has a legitimate faith... Because they can feel the spiritual
influence, the presence, of their objects of worship in their lives. This feeling of presence, of oneness with something greater than themselves, can,
when welcome, provide feelings of ecstasy and divine wonder. These powerful feelings that some derive from strong faith is what I feel from northern,
seasonal forest. My body is matter, it is of the Earth; when I die and move on to whatever lives may come next, my body will be to the Earth returned.
I am part of it, now just as much as I will be in death. The forest is my church. When I go to the woods, I feel the presence of something greater
than myself, some wild, powerful yet indifferent spirit of pure life and pure death. I feel the essence of everything around me. Simultaneously I feel
the calm of a running stream and the viciousness of a wolf tearing the throat of its prey. I feel one with this spirit of nature.
-Speaking of presences and spirits and whatnot, back in PA I would often feel as though there were powerful spirits watching me. I had had several
interesting encounters with spiritual activity, even being physically interacted with, and one of those times experiencing what could be considered a
physical "warning". This particular "warning" experience was absolutely terrifying. The sense of power I felt from what I encountered was
overwhelming. Sometimes my perceiving of spiritual presences around me gave me a hair-raising feeling of terror, as though I could feel something
dark and dangerous watching me. Other times it was a very calming, peaceful feeling. However, I did not get the feeling that these beings had any
intention of harming me. Rather, it felt as though we had a mutual respect... Much like if you are hiking and encounter a wild Grizzly bear. The bear
would prefer to observe you from a distance out of curiosity, but both you and the bear know that it could and would violently tear you to shreds if
it felt provoked. In this way of both individuals knowing their boundaries, they showed mutual respect to one another. I welcomed most interaction and
usually enjoyed the company. But nevertheless, I feel no presence here in Florida. This place feels spiritually empty.
One very different aspect of life in the above-mentioned environment is the seasonal change. Watching the seasons change is like watching the circular
birth and death of the environment.
Summer - I feel the sunlight gently burning my skin, as if I'm being caressed by God. It feels as though the bright, long daylight is the gates of
some heavenly kingdom opening all around me. The heat that envelops every inch of my body is like a trial that I must overcome. But for doing so, I am
rewarded with the views of the trees and plants in all their glory.
Fall - By now I have become sick of the summer heat, and just in time. I look forward to the melancholy feeling of the leaves dying and the trees
becoming barren. It is a happy sadness, to feel the end of the life cycle approaching. I await the hug of the perfect autumn air. I love the smell of
everything around me. Now it feels different to be in the woods; I no longer see green leaves, but the browns and greys of the trees left behind, like
I am looking upon the bones of the earth. I feel the changes the Earth is going through.
Winter - By now I am ready for the winter. It is like a peaceful slumber after a long, hard year. The cold winter air feels amazing flowing through my
nose and into my lungs; it is refreshing and I feel alive. Staying outside for prolonged periods of time in the cold with only basic clothing, such as
a tanktop and shorts, leads to me feeling a sort of physical high, like my body was made for precisely that. I loved shoveling the driveway in a
tshirt and shorts. Few things I've experienced were as pleasant as the physical and mental effect of enduring the cold. I love it.
I revel in the harsh desolation of the freezing darkness. It is a reminder of my mortality, knowing that the environment itself, the unforgiving cold,
can kill me by exposure alone. Winter feels vicious, and I with it. I want to be one with this brutal extreme of nature, I want to feel the freezing
grasp of death. When it finally snows, I feel transported to some other land of fantasy and adventure. Winter is blissful and the darkness
Spring - I've lived through winter and am now content with the experience. I am ready for the rebirth of the woods and sun. I enjoy feeling the
temperature, the fluidity of the air change as we transition into the new season. It is not too hot, but it is not cold either. I see beauty in the
gradually growing leaves and plants and my sense of awe and amazement grows with them each day. The magic is returning.
Another thing I dislike about Florida is the terrain. It is flat. This is boring. When I used to run around in the woods back in Pennsylvania, the
hills and mountains made even a simple hike or drive feel like an adventure. I loved the feeling of having the land tower over me like it could
swallow me alive. I loved climbing on the numerous Pennsylvania rock formations. I loved the dark, shaded areas hidden from the sun. I loved feeling
like I could get lost behind this hill or that turn. I felt like I was roaming some wild, unexplored fantasy world. Here, where it is flat... There is
no sense of adventure.
Speaking of adventure, I was extremely disappointed and saddened to walk along the wooden paths at Six Mile Cypress. I like to go into the forest to
feel connected to nature, and yet this had quite the opposite effect. I could not leave the pre-made nature path. I could not walk through the woods
and experience this sense of adventure and belonging. It did not even feel like nature... It was a wooden path, made for people to go sight-seeing and
taking photographs. I couldn't even LEAVE the path. It felt like a total bastardization of the environment, and it was quite honestly a pathetic
example of a nature walk. If a person has spent their entire life living in million-dollar mansions, they will not likely enjoy giving it all up to
move into a little rundown shack. I can't be taken from the freedom of being able to get lost in seemingly endless forest and hills and put on a short
little nature path in a small little nature preserve tucked away inbetween housing developments and be expected to be happy with such an
edit on 2/26/2017 by trollz because: (no reason given)