The Woods Is My Church

My mom tries to get my 4 year old daughter to go to church every Sunday, like she did with my brother and me 30 years ago. I don’t go to church, so last week my daughter asks where my church is. I said, “In the woods,” so she pictures a big wooden building in the woods somewhere. “Do you want to go?” I ask. It’s 8am on Sunday; a sunny, great day for a walk in the woods. “Is it big?” she asks. “Yup. You’ll love it,” I say. My wife is giving me funny looks.

We drive to the trail’s entrance and my daughter exclaims, “This is Dobson’s Trail! Your church is here?!” As we start walking in the woods she asks me how far away the church is. “This is it,” I say. “The woods is my church. See the logs where we rest? Those are the pews. The squirrels and birds are the choir.” “Wow,” she whispers. She gets it.

So every Sunday morning we go to our church now: a quiet walk in the woods.

6 Replies to “The Woods Is My Church”

  1. I’m not looking forward to hearing my mom’s opinion about it, especially when my daughter says to her that she’d rather go to MY church.

  2. You got the right idea, Jody. Here’s one of many things Walt Whitman had to say about churches:

    I know I have the best of time and space, and was never measured and never will be measured.
    I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!)
    My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods,
    No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,
    I have no chair, no church, no philosophy,
    I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,
    But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
    My left hand hooking you round the waist,
    My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road.

    Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
    You must travel it for yourself.

    It is not far, it is within reach,
    Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
    Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.

    Whitman was also said the Christian bible is the greatest book ever written, which surprises many people who think of him as a glorious heathen. But he possessed a wisdom and sensitivity for the purity of religious experience that most religion-bashers, and religions, could learn a lot from. My favourite line from Leaves of Grass:

    “Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons,
    It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”

  3. What! What! great Idea…no way…how are we going to keep up this military build up and hostililty to those who are different if we turn from the skinny pale skinned jesus image…how are those houses of worship and sexual peculiarities..to survive if we turn from god…and hey you did not spent money during your commune with god…what! you must spend spend spend…you mean you took time out from consumerism…you %&&%$$ heretics…Let the inquisition begin with the roasting of your crucified corpses……..

    Hey as you know we have become a hostel…well for our sunday retreat we took our “guests” to Canada’s Wonderland…you know how people tend to say “Dont worry its always worse than you imagine” and they tend to be right…not this time it lived up t0o all that I imagined….granted I am hostile to these things anyway…(and the dam metal detectors thwarted my scheme) but there is nothing like having an individual from an area devoid of resourses that we sqaunder to put it into a larger and proper prospective…any way back to church…one of overseas guests is a devout catholic…he went to a service here at the local catholic church and amongst his description of the expereince,,he stated that going into the building and the service and the setting was “..just like heaven..just what I imagined heaven would be like…” funny I bet the locals dont think their weekly service is heavenly…its all about perspectives…

    I m just glad you had some time with your kids…

    oh yeah mom and the kids go to church and the kids say they will pray for me…no I mean anja will pray for me henry thinks its a good idea that I burn in hell…he thinks its funny that daddy will be roasting for eternity….he knows I hate the heat…

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