I walk through the woods behind my house with my dog. Though I stay on man-made, mowed paths, it still feels secluded and wild, completely surrounded by trees and plants, and the unfortunate spider web. As we walk further back, it gets more isolated, where I cannot even see my house or any other buildings. As we walk along the creek, I see evidence of animals such as muskrats and beaver, and hear the noises of a few birds. But I see few of these animals. We are so surrounded by trees, I am not completely sure where we will come out, when I can see something besides trees again.
As we go to cross the creek to get to the rest of the path, however, the silence is interrupted by the sound of voices, of laughing and talking. The sense of being alone and in awe of the forest ends, especially when my Labrador starts barking at the people fishing in the creek. Although I know these people, and know I am not in real danger, their presence still interrupts my peaceful walk. After we cross the creek and leave these people behind, evidence of human presence continues to pop out at me. The ruts of truck tires from people coming back to chop wood, the metal cattle gates in the creek and along the fence row, and of course the litter of people left in the creek and on the path. And, while I am still surrounded by the same wilderness and bird song as before, the signs of other people remind me of how people can impact nature, and how pervasive this human presence is.