Mary Oliver (born 1935) is an American poet famous for her poems about nature.

A keen walker, she once said:

“When things are going well, you know, the walk does not get rapid or get anywhere: I finally just stop, and write. That’s a successful walk!”

Morning in a Pine Forest by  IvanShishkin

Sleeping in the Forest is a beautiful poem that evokes the wonder and otherness found when deep in the woods.  I don’t know if the poem describes an actual occasion when she slept in the forest but that is not important.  I’ll let the poem speak for itself:

Sleeping in the Forest

I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

from Sleeping In The Forest by Mary Oliver
© Mary Oliver

5 thoughts on “In Praise of Wild Camping – Mary Oliver asleep in a forest

  1. My all time favorite American poet since Robert Frost died. What a beautiful contemplation…to stop fearing darkness and death beyond and become one with nature.

  2. Like you I’m also behind to the tune of 1 month and playing catchup. Good to read others achievements though so thanks for compiling. Funny I always expect the authors of the blogs I read to be living in the midst of the lakes or peaks and turns out so many live in less exotic locations like myself 🙂 that’s another of my excuses taken care of, if it’s possible in Cambridgeshire then it’s possible anywhere, even Essex 🙂


    1. Hi Cola, thanks for commenting. I’m a big fan of ‘lowland’ wild camping, there’s lots of adventure to be had in Cambridgeshire (where I live) or any other un-hilly location, including Essex! Do you have a microadventure planned for this month? Let me know!

      1. Funny but my comment appears to have attached itself to the wrong post, was actually reading the #microadventures post at the time 🙂 #stupidiphone

        Only actual “plans” are for Dartmoor in April everything else until then will be unplanned, spontaneous camps, when time & weather conditions are right 🙂

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