In the Woods

Muir Woods 411A number of years ago I came across the following story, told by David J. Wolpe, in Teaching Your Children About God.  It concerns a child of a rabbi who used to wander in the woods.

“At first his father let him wander, but over time he became concerned.  The woods were dangerous.  The father did not know what lurked there.  He decided to discuss the matter with his child.  One day he took him aside and said, ‘You know, I have noticed that each day you walk into the woods.  I wonder, why do you go there?’  The boy said to his father, ‘I go there to find God.’  ‘That is a very good thing,’ the father replied gently.  ‘I am glad you are searching for God.  But, my child, don’t you know that God is the same everywhere?’  ‘Yes,’ the boy answered, ‘but I’m not.’”

I’ve used this story from time to time to try and explain to people why the woods and wilderness are so important to me.  I realize that it is not true for everyone but for me I do feel different in the woods.  I feel a closeness to God there that is not so prevalent in my more urbanized everyday life.  And because I feel a nearness to God in wild places it is crucial for me that such places be preserved.

I have a feeling that there are many others who feel close to God in the woods and want to make sure that these places are maintained.  I just hope that there are enough of us to make a difference.  Enough folks who will work to make sure that there are plenty of wild places for people to go to and experience a closeness to God in nature.

–Chuck Summers