The whole world is the raw material for poetry. Today, the internet opens doors that publishers once controlled, and anyone can post a poem. Many of these amateur works are good and as much fun to read as they probably were to write. There is a wealth of short poems, hiking-themed, written by famous poets. Those who explore the world on their own two feet but neither read nor write poetry are missing a lot.
A hike is more than a walk. People walk for exercise, sometimes on a treadmill. They walk because their doctor or personal trainer tells them to: walk around the block, walk at lunchtime to get desk-cramped muscles freed up, set goals and keep mileage logs. They climb the stairs on rainy days or go to the mall and make the circuit.
Hikers get off paved streets and sidewalks to explore the mountains, see deer in their home woods, listen to creeks running over rocks, and breathe air that only plants have handled. They make a special effort to get ready, set aside a whole block of time, and dedicate themselves to a day or a month or a year of special adventure. They follow the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, climb Old Rag, or find another challenge and reward.
Anyone who likes this pastime will know what Gerard Manley Hopkins meant when he wrote of \’dappled things.\’ Sunlight falling through leaves onto the trail, fallen logs speckled with fungi, and the gleam of multi-colored pebbles through running water recall passages of his poetry.
Robert Frost gets almost mystical in his \’The Mountain\’, which expresses some of the mystery the peaks have always held for mankind. Stephen Crane penned the phrase, \’the march of the mountains\’, a wonderful visual of endless swells and folds leading the eye to infinity. A hiker who gets to the top of a rise, looks out over the world from a new vantage point, and remembers great poetry adds an extra dimension to the pleasure.
A beautiful and unique voice of American poetry came from Massachusetts, where Emily Dickinson lived as a recluse. Her poetry shows that she found an absorbing world in the wooded glades around her home. Many of her poems concern bees; searching that keyword will give hikers an idea of what Emily found on her hikes through the woods.
Reading the greats is one way to remember more memorable sights along the trail. This can inspire hikers to write their own feelings in the form of a poem. Hiking is a significant accomplishment, even though many feel insignificant among the mountain heights and under the great open sky. After all, the hiker is out there, moving under his or her own steam, while millions of others spend their weekend in front of the television
Every hiker has emotional reactions to venturing into unspoiled natural places. If they can write them down and work them into poetry, their perspective can enrich the lives of others and promote a feeling of fellowship within the community of people who understand.