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Barely into the challenge and I already took off two days from writing. I will need to work on that for days in the future and not be so lenient with myself. Moving on.

Today I yearned for time in the woods. I remembered the feeling of exhaustion from hiking for miles up and down, pushing my muscles to their limits. The feeling of sweat breaking out from every pore in my body, eventually dripping and soaking my shirt. Knowing you worked hard to climb a steep slope to reach your destination (a view, a hilltop, a camp site, a water source…). I miss it. It encompasses all senses, being in the woods and camping in the wilderness. The smell of dirt mixed with pine trees and fresh springs, or the smell of fresh rain in the woods. The smells of sweat and lake water mixing together as you rinse off. The coolness of lakes and rivers that bring you down from the intensity of the heat, hiking, and sweat of the day, soothing the rash of mosquito bites that cover your skin.

Taste. Food never tasted as good as when you work your bones and muscles to the point of aching, needing immediate replenishment to push them on. Peanut butter on tortillas tastes like heaven, and salt is your religion. Cheap chocolate tastes like the finest, dark delicacy, and days-old, unrefrigerated salami is a luxury. Powdered eggs and milk are the norm, but they taste better than the real thing. And water is the nectar of gods (maybe with a hint of iodine). When you finally crawl into your tent to sleep, your exhaustion knocks you out cold. You sleep so hard that you never felt that rock digging into your side or the root underneath your head. And you wake up with the sun, feeling more refreshed than any sleep you’ve had in a long time. And the air is the purest you’ve breathed.

When it feels like everything else has turned its back on you, nature will always be there to wrap you in her arms and make you feel alive and whole again. She will remind you of your importance, and her importance in your life. She will revive you and show you love and happiness. She does not judge, but pushes you beyond the limits you believed possible. She knows you are stronger than you give yourself credit for. She knows that your heart is bigger than you realize. She knows you will always come back to her. Nature is patient. And she waits for you always.

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