Friday, July 29, 2011

Thunderstorms and Leeches

There's nothing like a week in the North Woods (Boundary Waters in Minnesota, to be exact) to give one a nice sense of perspective. A sense of the Sublime, to get all art historical about it--meaning that witnessing the majesty of nature (or a worthy reproduction) can give one a sense of awe or a sort of pleasurable terror at the beauty and power of it all.

In other words, sitting through a nighttime thunderstorm in a tent. It didn't help that the island across from ours had been burnt to a cinder from a lightening strike in the spring. There I lay, listening to the thunder roll and echo across the neighboring lakes like flopping sheets of metal while the tent lit up with green-white flashes, wondering where you go if a forest fire starts around you--into the lake? into a canoe on the lake? how much time do you have, anyway?

And at the same time these survivalist thoughts rattled around, I sort of enjoyed the immensity of the sound. Unmuffled and continuous. It was a feeling of awe or pleasurable terror, if you will.

In the morning, with the sun glistening on everything, I marveled at the loveliness. None of it had anything to do with me and was not arranged for my enjoyment, but it gave me a nice feeling of connectedness. Just another little mammal who made it through the storm. Later that day I had to pluck a leech off the toe of another little mammal--Son #2--an activity that also required a bit of detachment so as not to have an unseemly gross-out, or take the blood-sucking personally.

Yoga in the forest, right? This is why I like camping and geology and astronomy--because it reminds that me most stuff is pretty fleeting and not all that important. That I'm at the mercy of forces far bigger and more powerful than I (...realizing that, in this case, I am very lucky that I can marvel at these wonders, rather that suffer their results).

Terrible and Sublime. Beauty and Awe. Namaste and, well, Namaste.


roseanne said...

i love your perspective on the rainstorm during the camping trip. i'm an awful camping wuss ~ in that kind of situation, i would find myself feeling too much discomfort and annoyance to experience any sense of wonder and awe.

Teeg said...

you are one brave soul!! im not much of a camper so im not sure how long i would have lasted in such conditions. sounds like you made the best of it though and really thats all that matters =D

Grace said...

Nice post. I find it quite trilling just to be inside a home during a thunderstorm, let alone a tent! But I know what you mean. I've woken in the middle of the night camping with a full bladder but too scared to go outside because there's some creature shuffling around out there. Of course you always think it's a bear when it's probably a raccoon!