Beyond What Is Seen

by Abby Wickoren

woman looking at fall forestI stare at the trickle of water, hardly strong enough to be a creek, but acting as one nevertheless. I watch where it disappears around a turn, continuing its twisting, turning, and rolling beyond my watchful eye, disappearing into where the brush is too thick and unforgiving to walk through. I trust, although I can no longer make out its path, that it continues on. The trees here are no longer decorated by autumn’s beauty and have instead succumbed to winter’s beginning, gnarled and twisted around me, obscuring a clear path in any direction.

It’s a sorry excuse for a forest, residing at the bottom of a ditch, surrounded by suburban houses built atop its hill, but an escape nevertheless, a break between the mirroring structures on either side of its banks, a sliver of nature amidst a crowded town. It’s an escape serving as a reminder that there is more to life than what can currently be be seen. We trust looking into a forest, or down a trail, that there is more to the landscape than what resides in our current line of vision. There is also certainty that the creek before me carries on past the turn which obscures it from my sight, and so, it’s no stretch to assume problems presently plaguing everyday life will eventually find resolution even if it isn’t an easily determined one. I know there are more trees beyond what I can see, and I know as the seasons play on, these weak branches, snapping under slight pressure, will become supple again, restored by the summer sun and warm weather.

Despite the clouds crowding the sky, I’m filled with absolute sureness that the sun is just beyond them, waiting to breakthrough the thick grey. It is these certainties that nature provides, here in this ditch and beyond, that give hope for an escape from our current predicaments. I type these words from behind a desk, but the towering trees and other views of nature just outside my window serve as a reminder that this confinement is only temporary, and I will eventually move beyond it.

The sheer vastness of the world is overwhelming in itself, but juxtaposed with this vast world is the opportunity for exploration. The world provides the prospect of perpetual expeditions along with the hope that there will always be more in life than whatever problems we are presently meandering through. With more effort, the possibility of following the creek I face is a reality. The possibility of immediate issues being solved is a reality as well, the solution simply out of reach in this moment, but existent nevertheless.

Photo by Glebchik

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