The Woods

I’m a little behind adding my songs to my blog. This one was written for week 43 of #songaweek2021, the last week of October, two days after my 46th birthday. At the very end of the video is a little clip from a walk I took on my actual birthday, in the woods at Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve. It was so quiet and solitudinous (if that’s not a word it should be) on a Tuesday afternoon. One of the few other people I saw that day was a woman riding a horse, talking on her cell phone and – would you believe it – singing happy birthday to whoever was on the other end!

I’ve always loved the woods. I wanted to name a band “The Woods” once. I said, “we could tell people, we’re lovely dark and deep!” This song is certainly a hat tip to Robert Frost (“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and of course “The Road Not Taken”) and Henry David Thoreau (Walden – “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately . . .”).

I do quite a bit of songwriting in the woods. I walk and think and hum and make little voice memos on my phone. It’s something about the full-body movement, the fresh air, the sense of passing through a different world or state of being. Most of my woods walks are on the same two trails in my neighborhood, where I feel deeply acquainted with individual trees and every turn of the trail – the sameness is comforting – and yet, the weather, the seasons, the wildlife . . . means it is never the same. I think it’s a multisensory reminder of so much that is true about everything in life.

I go out walking on a cloudy afternoon
Under a gray sky but I don’t feel the blues
I’m taking my wild soul to the woods

I’m gonna treat her to bright October trees
She loves the sugar and spice of dying leaves
I’m taking my wild soul to the woods

And you with all your cares
You just might like it there

We keep on going though wind and winter come
When all around us are silent skeletons
I still take my wild soul to the woods

She feels the heartbeat of life in everything
She hears the music and teaches me to sing
She only asks I take her to the woods

And you with grief and tears
You might find comfort here

Some sunny morning I’ll find the first green thing
And hear a warm wind whispering of spring
And my wild soul will take me to the woods

We’ll go on rambles that widen with the days
Through the meadows and round ten thousand lakes
But my wild soul and I
I and my wild soul
Will always and ever love the woods

And you with heart so true
Might want to go there too


  1. LOVE the “Thoreuian” message of this song!!! (And the added impromptu appearance of your little friend, patiently waiting to go for a woods-walk, was a nice touch!)

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