A walk in the woods

Jerry Apps
A walk in the woods can help calm the soul and mind in these turbulent times.

As long as I can remember, when things were going bad for me, I felt better after a walk in the woods. On the home farm, we had twenty acres of woods just north of the farmhouse. My brothers and I grew up in that woods made up mostly of oak trees. When something bad happened, a favorite animal died, something I’d hoped for vanished, I would go out in the woods. 

]We all faced a host of disappointments and tragedies during the trying years of the Great Depression and the challenges of World War II. During those times I’d find solace in the woods. For me, it was a safe place to be. A place where I could find myself.

The trees would listen to me—and they didn’t talk back. I enjoyed the sound of the wind rustling the tree leaves on a hot day in summer, and the different sound the winter wind made as it moved through the bare tree branches. On days when the wind didn’t blow, the woods were a quiet, peaceful place. As I grew older, the woods continued to be one of my favorite places to visit-during good times and bad.

The farm my family and I now own is mostly trees, with many walking trails. What a soothing pleasure it is, during these times of chaos and change, to spend time in the woods.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Take a walk in the woods. You will feel better if you do.

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to