The solitude fed my soul. The sound of the wind, the changing light, the chittering of sneaky coons, the hum and buzz of the cicadas, the soft footsteps of rabbits and squirrels in the fallen leaves, the clicking and snapping flight of the ever present grasshopper, the whistling song of birds, the rustle of leaves, the crunch of dry withering grass beneath my feet, the soft sound of dust taking flight with every pillowy footstep, the distant yips of coyotes, the buzz of flies and bees and dragon flies; the absence of human language nourished me.
I felt cocooned in the wilderness. I knew i had to return to the city to do my job, to make the money to pay the mortgage, to keep the land. To ensure my access to the wilderness i had to leave it every morning.
The land seemed vast and untainted while the city i drove to, the life i held there, was fraught with corruption, carelessness, and a sense of waste and fatigue. As a general rule people were viewed as resources; nothing more.
I enjoyed my time on the property, though it was mostly just a scrap of day stolen here or there. I felt the wind on my skin, read the weather, watched the bugs for signs of rain, filtered water, socialized the chickens, hunted grasshoppers… i tried to make the most of my time spent in the coveted solitude i so craved when patients were trying to rip my ppe off because they had dementia and didn’t understand why i was dressed as some terrorist ninja at a dentist office; when i was standing in the bathroom changing my scrub pants because the pair i had started out wearing that morning was compromised secondary to corporate’s belief that we didnt need any protection between our torso and our shoes and i chose to block the patient’s knees rather than let them slide to the floor; When coworkers were arguing vehemently about statistics and solutions as if they knew what they spoke of when none of us could do anything beyond take an educated guess and research the probability of validity through tracking symptoms and trends in each other and our patients; when people droned on and on to me about how horrible it was that they hadn’t been able to attend a hair appointment for a shampoo and color in 4 months while the images of coding elders and nurses’ husbands coughing up blood swirled in my head and anger arose in my heart for peoples’ lack of ability to care for others plight…i craved the solitude of the wilderness.
Patients still spoke to me about God. Some asked for guidance. Others wanted to give it, but throughout the chaos God remained central in the minds of the sick and the frail. It was my mind that was drifting from God’s people. I felt at home amongst the animals and tired of dealing with people. I watched a global pandemic bring the worst parts of my species to the surface. There seemed to be no end to the theme of wicked and selfish behaviors people accosted each other with. I was too weary of it to describe it any more. I simply retreated to the sanctity of the trees. I took refuge in the woods on my land and watched the insects rather than people for a while.
The ants and termites moved their larvae to higher tunnels every time rain was coming. They would form long lines of workers who couldn’t be bothered to bite my feet because they were busy carrying their precious cargo from one tunnel to another. Spiders spun their webs. Wasps dug holes in the ground and laid in wait for an insect to crawl in, at which point they emerged briefly to grasp the unlucky bug and drag it underground.
The wolf spiders sat still on the parched earth at night, mimicking the tufts of grass that grew sporadically in the darkness, waiting for an unlucky insect to come into view, at which point they would run as fast as lightening and pounce on the creature like a leopard on a gazelle.
I asked God to guide me in my words and actions and to give me the strength, the faith, and the wisdom to “finish this day as you would have it done”. God guided my steps and my actions in the city. If i had my way, i would leave them altogether and hide in my wilderness, away from the wickedness of humans. But, there was still work to be done, people to serve. I gave God the wheel and let him drive me back to the city where he intended me to be every morning, helping humans, for i hoped he could open my heart and put it on my heart to have love for my brothers and sisters, but at the moment, i felt more of a connection with the critters in the woods, the wind, the clouds, the trees…the solitude of wilderness.