As the sun slowly slips down the western arc of the sky, shadows extend out from the surrounding trees pointing to the place where the sun will appear the next day. Wood smoke rises in a thin blue haze reaching upwards towards the pink hued sky. You sit quietly on a log in front of the fire pit immersed in thought.
The Light begins to fade and the cool night air stalks into your campsite forcing you to forgo your contemplation and move toward your tent. Opening the zippered door, you rummage around in your clothing bag looking for the hoodie that you know you packed.
Clothed for the cool night air, you take your seat by the fire and resume watching the flickering flames as the fires' light pushes the relentless darkness back toward the forest and creates shadows which seem imbued with life.
A loon cries out, the plaintive call filters through your mind and pulls your soul deeper into the wilderness. Within the blackness of the forest, a barred owl calls out; four haunting notes repeated twice, then silence fills the camp site. A slight shiver runs up your spine as you realize you are a stranger in this wilderness, simply visiting from a place which does not allow the wild to exist. The realization that you are being watched by creatures which do not need the aid of artificial light, makes you feel inept and out of place.
Pulling yourself away from the warmth and security of the fire, you wander toward the shoreline upon which your canoe is resting. Keeping your headlight off, you gingerly make your way down the time-worn path. Your eyes begin to adjust to the darkness and you begin to see the world in black and white. A slight glow to your right alerts you to a phosphorescent fungus which imbues the forest with a hint of magic.
A slight breeze tickles the water which reacts by sending ripples to tease the shoreline. You close your eyes and breath in deeply. Holding your breath for several seconds you then exhale the baggage your mind has conjured up.
When you open your eyes, the sky is filled with pinpoints of light which are mirrored by the lake. The Big Dipper points toward Polaris, Orion stands on guard and Cassiopeia forms the letter W.
Your eye focuses on Cassiopeia and your mind formulates two words, why and who. A question walks out of the fog within your consciousness.
"Why am I here?"
As your mind grasps with the enormity of the query, a creature, unseen, laps at the water. You listen as it drinks. Not daring to move, you are instinctively frozen to the ground, becoming part of the wilderness you paddled into. Within a few heartbeats, the animal vanishes without a sound; you begin to breath again.
The answer to your question has dislodged from your civilized brain. It is simply answered by two words;
Another question forms in your mind, coalescing out of the darkness like a far distant flashlight.
"Who am I?"
The stars have rotated clock-wise while Polaris remains in place. A slight chill has wormed its way to your skin and you want to return to the fire, yet you linger because the question of "who?" requires some more thought.
Shuffling your feet slightly, your right foot slips into the cool water sending ripples out into the blackness, informing everything they touch that you exist. The clarity of the moment lifts the fog from your mind and the question of "Who am I?" is answered.
By simply re-arranging the words, the answer if forthcoming. The sentence embeds itself in your consciousness and you smile. The answer to the question is simply;
As you walk back to the fire, the light of the moon begins to fill the site. Fear no longer lingers in the corners of your mind, you have blended into the wilderness and the simple act of breathing becomes special. Wood smoke fills the air with it's comforting aroma and you feel as if time is standing still.
You place another log on the fire and resume your vigil beside the fires' glow. Heat seeps into your clothing and chases the chill away. Once again the owl calls out into the moonlight bathed world. You cup your hands over your mouth and call back in poor imitation. Surprisingly, the owl responds. You have now become part of it's world, blending in and flowing within the dictates of nature. Any thought of dominance has evaporated and a sense of belonging has infused your soul.