Wilderness: Red Bull for the soul

Some folks find it at the Kotel, some find it in arguing for hours about the legislative philosophies in the Talmud, some wear all white and meditate while thinking of G-dly images, some smoke herbs, some trip on mushrooms, some view sex as the way to enlightenment and a way to get closer to G-d, some sit in shull and daven while others sit at home and daven, transliterated siddurim, seforim galore, artistically authored books displaying his holiness in all his glory, pews with lush butt cushions and fiery sermons coming from the lectern, kibbutzim in the middle of nowhere, Carlebachians, Chassidus, Bresslovers, dancing, singing, and so many other ways. People seek many ways and practices to become closer to G-d, some of them work and some of them are merely their excuses to participate in weird lifestyles that sometimes may be harmful.

The woods or wilderness, this is where I find G-d and where I need to be to feel closest to him and all his amazing ness. Its not just a hobby for me it is a way of life. I seek refuge from all the materialism and gashmiyas of the world every time I step off the beaten path to the path of solitude shielded from the man made world to the treasures of the lord. It is not merely the solitude or the shielding from pritzus, monetary rewards and the materialism that consumes every day life it is the fact that walking through the woods or paddling down a river without digital devices, and relying on oneself is the ultimate time to see G-d. All around you is G-d, no buildings, no streets, no bridges, no radio towers, no man made objects to skew ones thoughts. Here in the woods there is no denying the awesome power of G-d. One cannot say, that building over there is grand so humans are grand, here one gazes upon the trees, rocks, roots, mud, streams, waterfalls, mountains, grass, animals scurrying about, and all else in amazing wonder that man did not create anything besides the worn path which one may be walking on to propel him into the woods. Even the path sometimes is barely discernible from the woods about him revealing nothing besides G-dliness.

Most of the time I in the woods alone, no one seems to enjoy them as to give up a day of TV, video games, movies, eating or any of the other luxuries that one cannot have when detached from the modern world. When alone I contemplate life and davening is best. There seems to be no better place to daven then when shaded by hundreds of pine trees listening to the soft steady rushing of a clear mountain stream or maybe the windy treeless summit is more your fare, or maybe you prefer to be clad in your life vest sitting on a lone piece of land in the middle of a massive lake which you had just paddled for hours on only to find yourself alone except for your paddle and kayak and hopefully a siddur with which you can thank G-d for providing this amazing piece of real estate on which you can relax and relish in his glory.

It seems to me that the ultimate in “frum” activity would be to travel somewhere, where one can view the woods in their pristine untouched condition. No frum upbringing or shall I say “G-d Fearing” is complete without true appreciation through experiencing it in the flesh. In flesh does not happen for many inside the bais midrash or shull. No, for many they need proof- though this is a bad word because proof does not go with belief. If you believe why do you need proof? I don’t need proof- no, the wilderness is merely my religious Red Bull and energy drink meant to boost the emunah and doings of this frum yid.