Monday, November 14, 2011

Born To Be Wild

The sound of the breeze rustling autumn leaves high in the treetops is music to my ears. I can be completely alone, surrounded by nothing but trees, and fall colors, and sky, and be so filled with joy that it seems as if my heart might burst. In such moments I feel most in touch with my true self, the Infinite, and Everything That Really Matters.

I grew up in metropolitan Atlanta, a vast urban area that contained 2 million people in the 1970s and 80s (and now well over   5 million). For many, the buzzing energy of a city this size is a siren song. But not for me. From an early age, I knew that I was not meant for the big city. While others revel in the hustle and bustle, I seek out the quiet places.

As a child, I spent most of my play time in the "wilderness" behind our condominium complex. It was nothing more than a patch of woods between two residential developments, but I loved it. I have such fond memories of creating trails, building forts, and playing along the creek there with my friends. Hours would pass unnoticed, until finally the daylight began to wane and we would hear the familiar whistle. Both my dad and my best friend's dad whistled for us when it was time to come home. Presumably because the whistle was louder and more likely to be heard than a shout, and not because we bore any similarity to dogs.

This love of wild places is with me still. I feel at home in the mountains where I live now, and treasure the open spaces - dwindling though they often seem to be. There is nothing I enjoy more than getting out on a trail, listening to the crunch of leaves underfoot as the sounds of civilization recede with each passing step.

And of course, the dogs love this too. Heading out for a hike recently, I watched through the rear view mirror as Lucky's tail began to wag enthusiastically as the truck turned toward a familiar trailhead. It's fun to watch him. He knows that adventure is just around the bend. I don't believe Katie had ever been hiking with her previous family, but she's a trail veteran now.

As in every other setting and circumstance however, her favorite part of any hike is when we stop for a snack. Meek and mild mannered most of the time, Katie pushes her way to the front of the pack when food is involved. "Me first, please!"

After a short rest, snacks and water, we'll be on our way again. The dogs are all business, ears pricked to catch the sounds, noses working overtime at each rough side trail. Some are small, perhaps raccoon sized. Others are larger. Who or what passed through here last night? They know. I can see it in their faces, and I wish they could tell me. But we move on; the other side of the mountain awaits.

On this afternoon, for just a little while, we're in our element among the trees and the breeze, the sky and the brightly colored leaves. Two-legged and four-legged creatures of nature, we follow the trail knowing the truth in our hearts. We were born to be wild.


  1. I feel the same way! And you know, when we lived at the condo we still played in those ever decreasing woods! Miss the dogs! Miss you and G and can't wait to be back on the trail with you!

    P.S: Are you coming for Thanksgiving?
    P.P.S: I love the last sentence!

  2. Wonderful pictures! No snow!!!! Thanks for sharing your beautiful hike - your dogs are so precious! Have a great Monday.

  3. Gorgeous pictures! I'm with you, BTW - I love mountains, any kind of place where the sounds of the natural world are all that you can hear. Someday ...

  4. Hi Brenda,
    So glad you stopped by my doggie bloggie...I live about 15 minutes from Helen, near all the vineyards on the Lumpkin/White Co border. I moved to the mtns from Savannah in 1975, and never went back to the coast! I graduated from North Ga. College, and a good friend is the new athletic dir. at YHC, after spending 20+ years in that capacity at NGC...small world, huh?

    BTW, I met Ina and her pups in 2010 when I went up to volunteer for the Iditarod...very nice lady!

    I've added your blog to my favs. :)
    Hugs and bellyrubs to your pups,

  5. Great post, we felt like we were there
    Benny & Lily

  6. So beautifully written and such great photos! I lived in a smaller town and I was actually always itching to move into the hustle and bustle and I absolutely love living in Chicago. I think Miss M does too because it gives her so many more opportunities to meet people and go to 'parties'. But what you wrote kind of makes me want to do more with the wilderness side. Something Mr. B misses from his old home.

  7. So pretty. Can not wait to get to United States and see all good coloured trees and wonderful off-lead hikes-- though flowers and beaches here so good too, as know!

  8. Oh Brenda, such lovely imagery, thanks for taking us along on your hike. And I completely agree... I grew up in the suburbs of Denver, it was smaller then but now has grown so unwieldly (my view, of course) that I long to escape as often as possible to our mountains, to the solitude.

    I have a couple of posts that echo your sentiments:

    The Siren Song of Solitude


  9. We totally agree xx

  10. It seems that I am in good company! Glad to know I'm not the only one that enjoys spending time in quiet places. Those posts were delightful Deborah, thanks for sharing them.

  11. I too share your sentiments and feel so lucky to live on the edge of a vast tract of wilderness full of quiet and solitude.

    I love that picture of your three amigos looking up at the camera, so cute!! You can see their personalities in their faces.

  12. What a beautiful post! You live in wonderful place indeed. Looks you and your four-legged friends enjoyed so much the hike. BTW, love your dogs.
    Ah! The color of the autumn leaves are stunning.

    You all have a nice Sunday.

  13. I grew up in suburban Florida -- but there were still vacant lots and we had forts amid the palmettos. No we live in the middle of a hundred mountain acres of fields and woods -- such a joy for us and the dogs!