In praise of UD and woodland adventures


“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door,” says Bilbo Baggins. “You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

I never thought this quote would apply to me because my world is UD’s campus. I longed for an adventure, but I did not know where to look. How could I, when the world I knew was so small like the Shire? 

The answer came to me as I spent a day hiking in the woods behind the sports fields that contain the path leading to the Mary statue. Last week, I decided to explore new paths. After wandering around, I found myself at a train track with a peculiar stalled train. 

I thought to myself, “Everything I saw today — the woods, the train tracks, and the train I discovered was an adventure and like a quest!” At that moment, I knew I could no longer keep these woods to myself. 

The woods are wonderfully quiet during the day. Almost no one has been in the woods whenever I have walked there. The silence of the woods contrasts the noise found on campus. 

Many of my friends concur. Freshman English major Amelia Ebent said, “It’s a refreshing silence and peace that allows one to reflect.” 

Owen Embree, a freshman classes and math major, noted the benefits of the woodland solitude. “It’s a peaceful place to walk into.”  

“Whenever I’m having a bad day, I’ll put on my headphones and walk through the woods,” agreed freshman Katie Shipley. “It always amazes me how vast and peaceful it is.” 

For those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, the woods are the place to be. 

Somehow, there is always beauty to be found in the quiet. The openness of the scenery enables one to be free to find oneself on a grand adventure. 

Thus, walking through the woods is like a breath of fresh air. Even getting lost in the woods is an exciting opportunity. Every path winds and curves so much that it feels like a maze, always  presenting new places for me to explore. 

In the woods, I find my peace because I can leave the world of UD behind. There, I can just forget my troubles. I can be myself because I feel that I am somewhere else. 

I can pretend that I’m in Middle-Earth, going through Fangorn, Lothlorien or the Old Forest. Even though I am stuck on campus, the possibilities of imagination are endless. While I most certainly will never walk to Mordor to destroy the One Ring, I can always go to the woods to have a wonderful hike. 

“It is a blessed thing to have an imagination that can always make you satisfied, no matter how you are fixed,” Mark Twain said. Even if your world is just campus, it can be a broader expanse. Once you find a place on campus where you are free just to let your imagination run wild. It’s certainly possible!


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