Jerry Cutler

Region: South

4 Forest Lessons

Lesson 1: Standing quietly in the woods I glimpse a memory. I briefly understand how humans lived as children of the wilderness. Here, on the leaf-covered path, space is not divided into vast, hardened geometry.

Lesson 2: Our market obsessions, our blind anticipations over that next great commodity, can indeed be interrupted. All you have to do is quietly consider the contours of a great tree, or really listen to water moving along a bank. A tiny leaflet falling on your sleeve may even break the spell.

Lesson 3: The forest holds special, rare, and arresting examples of adaptation and natural history. But be warned: learning about and experiencing nature can also make you start caring. And that caring can turn into alarm about what is happening to the age old cycles of our earth.

Lesson 4: Forget sentimental greeting card scenes! In the forest, everything eats everything else. Things choke, flood, dry up, burn down, rot, and break in a thousand ways. Death is everywhere, just as life is everywhere.