Great Joys

One of my greatest joys in life has been consistent and never changed, even through all of the phases of adolescence and into my young adult life, and that is reading a good book. Usually once a week I get into some sort of gentle scuff with Karen about a new novel lying about the apartment that we don’t have room for and I take myself (and the poor book) upstairs to our storage cubicle to put the book in my ever growing collection to be pulled out and shelved when we move to a larger domain. My latest escape into the forest of my mind was a story told by the late great Ernest Hemingway that was published after his death called
Islands in the Stream. The man tells a wonderful story, no doubt about that. But there was a time when I couldn’t read Hemingway because for all of the kudos that he was given I could not relate to his sentences. I found them to be dull and without imagination, and it wasn’t until just recently that I discovered that it isn’t always the sentences that are full of imagination and wonder, but it is often the story itself.
It occurred to me that life is often the same way, that for whatever reason we cannot see the forest for the trees and too often is the case where we lose track of the wonder that is the big picture because of the little avenues we travel down crowding our vision and our perspective.This becomes especially evident to me when I leave the deep bowels of this fine city for the sanctuary of the woods up north in Wisconsin where Karen and I venture off to usually twice a summer, or to
Iowa where we also visit a few times between spring and fall. It is on these expeditions that the “getting away from it all” makes so much sense and I find myself wondering why I ever go back. That the great joys that I have always known in the pages of so many books come to crisp clean focus as if I were turning the lens of a camera and all of the hustle and bustle of my life of my life is revealed to me as what it really is- intolerably mundane.
Perhaps it is actually because I venture back to the city and back to the hustle and bustle that I the great joy of being in the woods means so very much to me, and were I to permanently relocate to the great outdoors I would soon find myself longing for the city that Carl Sandburg called his own. Who knows? But for me, for now, I’ll take the crisp clean air and the open expanses to the concrete jungle any day. The woods inspire, the woods enrich the soul and recharge the batteries and I will always call them home.


This entry was posted in Nature.

One comment on “Great Joys

  1. kbpipes says:


    Thank you so much for your thoughts. You are showing a side of you I have not seen before. I look forward to future writings. You have a true gift.

    I to feel the restlessness that comes from city living. There are some forest preserves close to me, and the landscape is nice, but everything is still very urban, cold, and grey. I find myself fantasizing about the outdoors. Fishing in a stream, or maybe hiking in the woods.

    There is something provocative about nature. You have heard her voice, and just like me. You desire to hear it again.


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