Every Problem Feels Smaller in the Woods

Hello again, friends. It’s been another month since I’ve last posted, and it feels like my plans for the future have changed about every other day during the course of that month. I spent most of the time between my last post and now in Indianapolis, staying with Gummies and his family, which was lovely, but slightly tinged with sadness. When I stepped on the plane in Toronto, it was still with the hope that Gummies and I would be returning to Canada together, where he would be staying on a somewhat permanent basis. Well, within the first couple days of my visit, the universe decided to remind us of probably the most important lesson we learned on the trail: life doesn’t often go to plan.

We had been operating under the naïve idea that getting a work permit in Canada would be “easy”, but as it turns out, getting a job in a foreign country is a bit of a complicated process. It quickly became clear that our plans would have to change, and I would be returning home alone. We would be apart for an as of yet undetermined time. It was a devastating realization. After that, all I could do was try to enjoy the time we had and avoid thinking about the immediate future at all costs.

I’ve now been back in my hometown for a little over a week, and I must admit it’s been rough. I did manage to secure myself a job within my first few days being back, which was incredibly lucky and should help keep my mind occupied once I start (my first shift is tomorrow). But for the past week, I’ve had little to do but sit around and wallow in my feelings. And there have been a lot of them. Sadness, anxiety, and the constant underlying frustration at the seeming unfairness of it all. After 24 years of perpetual single-ness, I find the one, and yet I’m somehow still alone? Looking into the immediate future felt overwhelming, as if I was poised on the brink of some black hole of loneliness that seemed never ending. (And yes, I am fully aware of how dramatic I am being). After a couple evenings of particularly ugly sob fests, I realized I had to start looking at this from another perspective. So, I headed for the woods.

In the woods, I was still alone, but it somehow didn’t feel that way. The trees towering over me felt like friends, and the crunch of my feet in the bed of dead leaves lent a welcome rhythm to the thoughts in my head. Thoughts that still had the same theme as before, but with a tone that had shifted slightly. The future no longer seemed overwhelming and unmanageable. There was hope there. And I realized that, despite physical separation from someone I love dearly, I most certainly was not alone. This was the first time since leaving the trail that I had been able to just walk, to wander through the wilderness alone with my thoughts. It was glorious, and I suddenly realized how terribly I missed it.

Every problem seems smaller in the woods. With your legs moving you down a forest path, fresh air in your lungs, it seems possible to put a positive spin on almost anything. While walking along the trail, I found myself able to look into the future with hope and excitement. The forest lifted me out of the mental hole that I had dug myself into, and in the process taught me a valuable lesson that I will try my best to remember in the coming months. Every problem seems smaller in the woods. A few hours of simple movement and fresh air can help to lift the most stubborn of weights from your chest.

And now I am here, back at home, able to sit with knowledge that this situation sucks, but with hope renewed. Things will work out, maybe not in the timeline I’d hoped for, but eventually. I’m sure there will be many times when sadness and loneliness creep up in the future, but now I know the woods will always be there to show me the way.

2 thoughts on “Every Problem Feels Smaller in the Woods

  1. Come on Kristin, heads up. Like you write, the situation is “complicated” but not hopeless. Maybe not so fast as “love-starved” would, but maybe in a near horizon that is manageable. Dont give up!
    (And yes, like ever, such words are easy writen, but we all have mor or less situations masterd in our youth).
    Be strong, i wish you all the best…


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