Antidote by Tom Red

Have I ever returned from a walk in the wild feeling less healthy than when I left my sordid, civilized society?

How do the rustling leaves, fetid earth, clarifying air and occasional smears of dew alter my functioning flesh and body?

The relationship between our selves and our surroundings  must be integral to achieving a balanced physical health.


When we walk together or alone,

Leaving doubt and mistrust at home,

Through majestic darkly wooded shade

Or moss-carpeted fern draped glade,

We are inhaling and swimming through

Bacterium, bacilli, mystical spore slough.


This liquid, mercurial, microbial field

That courses through all and all will heal,

That invigorates, evacuates the foreign threats

To our inner gut fighting immuno-florets.

The inside system that most replenishes

From wilderness walks, but never admonishes

My stumbling step, breath, touch and feeling.

Because here new immunities are annealing.


From the stretches and stresses of

Hiking, walking, laying on dirt,

Slipping, grasping, staying alert,

Performing outdoor meditations herein,

We are gleaning unknowable medicine.


And that is why, when I return,

Turn the corner far astern,

From a walk or a hike or climb or swim

In a cold water northern lake, my skin,

Feels stronger, and my body more akin.


As an antidote to global pandemical unrest

I will take a walk and solemnly ingest…

The healing feeling alchemy of the broken forest.



– Tom Red, March, 2020

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