Walking in the woods is one of my very favorite things to do. But I have to be careful who I say that to, because people then often want to come with me. And it wasn’t until I read this poem by Mary Oliver that I realized why I so rarely take people up on it when they suggest we “go for a hike” together.

I like to go to the woods with my husband, my dog, my brother, and a just a few select friends. Why? Because they all have good things to say as well as the good sense not to always say them while walking in the woods.

How I go to the woods

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone, I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.