During a recent backpacking trip with friends, I asked them what the “wilderness experience” means to them.One partner responded that the lack of distraction calmed her mind. With the to-do list left at home, there is space for contemplation. Plus, this quietude greatly alleviated some general anxiety and even a specific fear. Namely, the fear of death. Out of doors the natural cycles of day and night, warmth and cool, activity and stillness are readily apparent and more difficult to mask with a lightbulb or erase with the air conditioner inside four walls. She feels her own biggest cycle of birth, life, and ending? become not as mysterious as before. More a part of a natural rhythm.It reminds me of the time I found a dead bat in broad daylight not 10 yards from our freshly pitched tent. At least I thought it was dead judging by the non-animation. When I went to remove it from the area by makeshift stick-tongs, I swear it momentarily morphed into a rabid wolverine. This unexpected toothy action launched me into a backwards somersault. Then, it just lay there gasping, clearly unwell. Clearly miserable. Clearly it had to be put out of said misery. Life and especially death; a natural cycle we aren’t privy to on a regular basis in a pre-packaged, disposable culture.Another member of the group mentioned the recharging she felt when in nature; like a car battery getting juiced up after leaving the lights on overnight. She spoke of this energizing even in the midst of increased physical exertion; i.e., hauling 20-40 pounds up 2-4000 feet of elevation.Perhaps the energizing or centering has something to do with the slowing down of time in accordance with these more accessible rhythms. Is there something measurable, I wonder, to explain this effect or is it just simply felt?A sense of expansion was echoed by all in our group. Somehow something within grew; the spirit, aura, or just plain good vibes? Paradoxically, we all felt small in comparison to the gigantic landscape, huge views, and intricate beauty. Not small as in unimportant, but small as in humble; aware of all the positives and negatives. Contented.