Nemophilist is an obscure word that hasn’t been used much for well over 100 years, with the first known use in 1838. I just learned about the word this week from my 11-year old grand-daughter, Mia... and it fits me to a 'T'.
Nemophilist (ne-‘mo-fe-list) -
Someone with a love or fondness for forests, woods, or woodland scenery;
someone who often visits them – a ‘haunter’ of woods.
The word derives from the Greek ‘nemos,’ grove, and ‘philos,’ affection. The use of the word appears to distinguish it from the more formal pursuit of forestry or botany – suggesting a more artistic appreciation of trees, or the simple delight provided by woodlands.
Indeed, I do gain simple delight provided by forests!
On this visit with Robai (Dec. 19, just a few days prior to Christmas), we stayed dry while we enjoyed our chai (carried in a flask). But shortly after we began our hike, unexpected rain came!
We got rather wet, chilly, and mud-splashed... but we cleaned up in time to meet my friend, Kim, for another cup of chai and to warm up a bit. Later, we all joined Mike, Melissa, and daughter (who were in town for the holidays) for lunch and a robust conversation. As Mike put it, "We always just pick up where we last left off."
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I’ve often thought of the forest as a living cathedral, but this might diminish what it truly is.
The forest is not merely an expression or representation of sacredness,
nor a place to invoke the sacred; the forest is sacredness itself.
Nature is not merely created by God; nature is God.
Whoever moves within the forest can partake directly of sacredness,
experience sacredness with his entire body, breathe sacredness and contain it within himself,
drink the sacred water as a living communion, bury his feet in sacredness,
touch the living branch and feel the sacredness,
open his eyes and witness the burning beauty of sacredness.
~ Richard Nelson, The Island Within
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|We found a few GeoCaches.|
|We discovered and enjoyed a random swing in the forest. Who would've guessed?!|
|Robai especially enjoyed the stream.|
|We had a really nice and lengthy chat with Sammy, who was posted at the gate.|
He gave Robai lots of encouragement and good advice about life after secondary school.
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But for the poor, benighted, heathen sinner,
desiring enjoyment that shall be honest, cheap, satisfying, and attainable,
I say, in the full faith of the creed of Nemophily -
Get into the woods! No matter what you expect to find there.
Go and see what you can find.
The Atlantic, 1860
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On our way back home, as we stopped to do an errand, we walked by a hole-in-a-wall nyama choma joint. As we did so, the guy outside roasting the meat invited us to stop and eat... and so we did. After all, we had worked up an appetite hiking in the forest! Anyway, I love the randomness of Kenya :)
This cute little girl, who lives just around the corner, came over looking longingly at our meal... so we shared our lunch with her. A bit later, her younger brother also came over for a few bites. Such happenings are quite common in Kenya; in fact, I sometimes keep leftovers from restaurants specifically to give to someone I encounter.