A Walk In the Woods
When Nature Slays a Drag Queen
Earlier this week, my partner and I drove over an hour away to visit a scenic stop called The Stone Door along the Savage Gulf State Park in Tennessee. We try to head out there in the fall every year to take in the dramatic autumn colors and the gorgeous panoramic views.
This year, there was one problem. I was having a bad day.
Prior to heading out on this excursion, I received some unexpected bad news, and it put me in the most irritable mood. To be clear, I generally possess an even-keeled, pleasant disposition, but on the extremely rare occasions when I get this way, I become no different than a very annoyed drag queen—equipped with attitude, hair-flips, and finger-snaps but minus the sequins, big hair, stilettos, warmth, and good humor. It’s probably very comical, but it’s not a happy scenario.
My partner, bless his heart, was very patient and understanding but his attempts to make me laugh only served to get me all riled up. The car ride heading out was not the idyllic and romantic sojourn it should have been.
When we arrived, we gathered our snacks and water containers. MaxZine thought it would be good a idea to take the longer hiking trail to the Stone Door (which we have not done in a few years), but as I soon found out, I was ill-equipped to handle the rugged terrain of this seven-mile hike. Large tree roots in intricate patterns, numerous stones of various sizes, and heaps of fallen leaves that can actually be quite slippery took up almost the entire trail that rose up and down along small hills and sharp curves. My sneakers, which I use for my daily walks in my neighborhood, were not up to snuff, and my feet started to hurt. I got all sweaty and tripped several times.
Needless to say, I was not pleased.
When we took a break and sat down at the first lookout point, I took a deep breath and stared out into the huge gulf that was laid out before me. I cannot say that it made me feel happy, but in a small way, seeing this natural beauty gave me some comfort. Maybe it was also the fresh air and the sunny skies up above, but despite everything, I started to feel a little better.
“A little better” is always more ideal than “utterly miserable.”
By the time we returned to our car about 3 hours later, I was exhausted, and my feet hurt even more. I was still annoyed about the bad news that I got, but nonetheless, I felt more at ease overall. My inner drag queen finally started to retire for the day.
The natural world may not be a cure-all for everything, but it can be a gentle salve to ease a burden. A little bit of comfort can go a long way.
I need to remember that on my bad days, a quiet walk through the woods can bring about incremental shifts in my mood. Nature’s quiet vibrations and endless beauty affect me in ways I will probably never fully understand, but I will gladly take what it freely gives.
My bad days may not have to be so bad after all.
All Photos by Roqué Marcelo.
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I enjoyed this essay and the photos