After my first summer living in the woods, returning to the city and school was difficult. I had spent three months seeped in nature, breathing fresh smog-free air, and lying in the grass at night staring at the milky way. The return to civilization was the return to smog and the visibility of ten stars, if you were lucky. I knew I would return. The following year, in 2012, I moved to Acadia National Park, an island off the coast of Maine. A place where there was only one traffic light and that was when you first drove across the bridge to get to the island.
For six months I lived in the woods. Within five minutes I could be at a lake that was three miles around. I was nestled between so many mountains that no matter which direction I headed there was a trailhead. The ocean was only a mile away. With no predators on the island we could hike at midnight without fear of being attacked by a grizzly (something that could happen in Yellowstone). This allowed us to go on hikes at midnight, traverse through grassy fields, fireflies glittering like jewels, until we would reach the ocean. With the moon overhead we could climb out onto the rocks and hop in to icy waters for a quick midnight dip.
Sunsets and sunrises were equally spectacular. Needless to say we spent a lot of time on that mountain. All the wonderful things about nature were combined into this compact island; With mountains, lakes, trees, and ocean views, I didn’t want to leave.
Instead of returning to Los Angeles, I took all my classes online that Fall so I could continue to live on the island until the end of October. Living in the woods allowed much time for peaceful reflection. The lack of the discordant chaos of the city helped reset the rhythm of natures natural cycle.
There is time and clarity to think about the things that matter in life. There is time to simply be and enjoy.