Each morning, I wake to pre-dawn birdsong and the reminder of where I lay my head, the night before.
In a tent, on top of a mountain, where I call home—for now.
Nothing fancy (it is after all, rent free), but it’s enough to keep the bugs and any inclement weather from disrupting what is usually a peaceful night’s rest.
Making haste after waking, I clothe, gather the things I’ll need for the day and begin my gradual descent down a winding mountain trail. This time of year is lovely and I’m learning to enjoy each moment of my morning routine, more and more.
So the question is: Why exactly am I doing this? What’s the point to all of this?
Well, when we get to a place in life where we’re tired of running from our fears and are instead willing to face our self-induced predicament, then one just might find themselves starting over in ways that go beyond orthodox imagination. A radical lifestyle change, such as this, has led me to shed an immense amount of pride—replaced with more humility and gratitude for life.
I’m learning to appreciate more moments that are available to me now. Each morning and night, I get to forget about the mainstream world and connect with nature instead. It gives me ample time to exert physical energy and makes for a good night’s rest most of the time. I know what it’s like to share the natural world with wildlife, like the deer that now come, mill around and feed in the meadow where I’m camped at. They no longer seem to mind that I’m there, sharing some space with them too.
The other day, while on my way into town, a deer passed by me within two arms’ length. It was a special experience, knowing that they are at least tolerant of a human’s presence.
This brings splendid joy to me. We so easily forget that modern day conveniences often necessitate the destruction of natural resources, which these wild creatures rely on to live and reproduce. There’s space for all of us, not just one of us. For people to remain here, we must preserve plenty of natural resources so that wildlife can inhabit this sphere with us.
Too many dead-end jobs are another reason why I’m doing what I’m doing, to get to where I wish to be. I love writing. My intuition has strongly urged me to continue doing so and to not get caught up in the “how” (like, how to make my living) or anything else. So long as our basic needs are met, there isn’t much else we need to be happy, joyous or content.
I’ve tried too many times in the past to get ahead, believing that it was all for something. All that energy-in for lackluster energy-out results. Things do not really bring about happy moments and memories like this little bit of time that I spend in nature each day does—personally.
I’m young. If I play the averages, then I have another 30 to 40 years to get my sh*t figured out. For now, I’m just that—here; now. Embracing the moments that so many are otherwise missing out on.
A life of mental programming has led me to examine inward more and more too.
I question nearly everything I’m doing. I call my own sanity into question often. Then, after some time away from the city, I can see that maybe the illness lies within the framework and mechanizations of society. People are getting too caught up in things that distract them from what’s going on right in front of us—what’s important to the conservation of our species and this planet as a whole.
So, I’m learning how to conserve more resources rather than to get ahead, only to consume more. I’m not aware of any solutions that will solve our global challenges, but I’ve learned enough to recognize that every individual can make some impact, based on their behaviors and spending habits.
Maybe I’m crazy (I can live with that).
Or, maybe I’m onto something.
Is there a way we can learn to live and work, without separating ourselves too much from the beauty and splendor of the natural world? I’d like to believe so. We’re the bridge. Those of us walking upon this planet today. Our children need us, and change, in my opinion, will largely come at the sake of convenience—if we’re not careful how we manage what’s left.
If we’re fortunate, technology will improve sufficiently to allow us to live here without harming our precious ecosystem. I’m just a spokesperson for nature. What better way to advocate for nature, then to spend ample time in it? This is just an experiment. At some point, I must become a more productive member of society, but I hope this time spent in the natural world will help illuminate ways that we (I) can learn to live more cohesively with wildlife, within society and not at the sake of our precious resources.
Fresh insights from a fresh mind, having descended from nature each morning, is what I have to offer. As time goes on, I hope that my words will become an expression of just that. Real, tangible change in our waking world.
Author: Thayne Ulschmid
Image: ecofolks on Instagram
Editor: Catherine Monkman