I’m not a religious person, but I am spiritual in the sense that there is something greater than humanity existing in the Universe, and it lives without boundaries in the aether. If you follow Marty Meierotto on History channel’s Mountain Men, you might recall Marty suggesting something more significant than we exist, and it lives in the bush. My rucking adventures take me on busy roads in suburbia, and it wears on my nerves as drivers seem not to care about pedestrians, and hit and runs are escalating. There’s nothing spiritual to experience while dodging cars driven by people who find your presence on the road an annoyance. The unlucky ones are hit and killed, and if there are no witnesses, the driver takes off like nothing happened. It’s a sad situation, but it is what it is, a testament to the times when incivility results in the death of people.

I recognize the feasibility of connecting with the nature of things on a spiritual level is nil while rucking through the streets of where I live. The effort brings out the misanthropist in me, and I already carry a dark passenger in my head, so I don’t need another one to tame. I turn inward, to appeal to my higher self, to quell the disturbance generated by my spiritual tendencies trying to reconcile with reality. The streets of the general population project a meanness that disturbs me. The circumstance compels me to seek refuge in nature, where I can escape the confines of a society devoid of decency, manners, and optimism. In the middle of the woods, I sit on a log to rest my feet, slow my breathing, center my mind, and rejuvenate my spirit with help from birds who sing to me. The trees and the denizens who reside in and around them come to my aid to heal me; they scurry around discussing my case; a chipmunk among them stops to look at me; our eyes connect; all is quiet, and the silence embraces me and penetrates my spirit; and I feel a massive weight lift off from my chest. I’ve been healed. For me, there is something more substantial than us in the world, and it lives in the woods.