Things I would like to do with You in the Woods.


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“Things I Would Like to Do with You.” is now available! It’s eco and lovely. Get your copy here

Now there’s a followup: Things I Would Like to do with You this Evening.

Now, there’s a third: Things I Would Like to Remember about Yesterday.

And now there’s a fourth: Things I would like to do with you in Time.


“The simplest things are often the truest.” ~ Richard Bach


I would like to go a way’s away, to a Cabin, and I would like to look you in the eyes, and you look me in the eyes, as lovers do, a soft invisible smile, quiet, warm, calm. I would like to not come back for ten days (ten days is not long enough, but it is longer than I have taken for myself in eleven years). It would be a first visit, a return to the woods of my youth. I can cut wood quite well, and show you how. I can pick too much mint, because I am distracted by you. The mint is strong, almost bitter, in the wild.

I would like to walk with you in the moonlight. The grass is wet. I can see you clearly in the dark, only you are black and white, but I cannot see how the gate opens, so I have to feel for it, and the ground is uneven so…walking, talking, listening to and with you…I walk left then right, as if tipsy. The ground is not flat out here, and I love you. I mean, I love that about nature: it is uneven.

I would like to love you, but I do not know you, and I value space more than even love, for in space we can play. I would make a fort in our cabin out of sheets and we can go inside and just lie there. I am looking at you, into you, and you are looking at me, into me. And we could read a paperback. I have a good reading voice. And we could have a fire, though it is not cold, but it would light up the fort, flickering, warmly, with shadows of our future. I would like to love you and you love me, for love can only be shared, but my luck does not run that way, these days, or for awhile, and I have a feeling that I will not love and be loved again until all my luck is run out.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu

I would like to talk with you about things I care about that others do not care about because they do not care about me, and hear you care, not because you care about me, but because you care about the things I care about.

I would like to listen. I could do it half the night, hour turning over hour, until I fall asleepinyourwords. I need make up time: I need to listen and breathe and take you in and just


I need to relax, and breathe—and what I need most (of course) is to cry. But you will not see my tears, for I can not quite cry yet. The mosquitoes, the water roaring beneath us, your unwritten life set like calligraphy on a new page, arching, bright, sharp, wandering, struggling, fast, laughing—letting go is half the beauty in elegance.

You are kind.

I would like to bring a cheap paperback with pen illustrations, say, and read it in the crook of a tree, and I would gingerly walk there barefoot, and you would be overdressed in a one dollar secondhand dress, as if going to a play. You would skip stones in the creek, then I would try and outdo you. You would set out a picnic, and I would eat your leftovers, and the trees far above would waver greenly in my eyes as I looked up at you looking up at them.

There’s a yellow butterfly! On the book, waving its wings without flying, softly. I wonder what it is thinking about, today?

“The Sunset House in southern West Virginia: built by Lilah & Nick using lumber reclaimed from a barn & windows reclaimed from junkyards.” ~ Cabin Porn

On the second-to-last night, I would like to make another fire, even though we do not need it for warmth: because it is summer, and we have old wool blankets. But the flickering flames, the shifting warm light, is the best light for talking, endlessly, as if we were at camp, and sex is not the only thing we humans can think about. And perhaps I could hold your hand. There is nothing better than holding a hand, feeling your fingers, your nails, your callouses, your palm. And your hand, held yet holding mine, feeling the stress and bruises of life, your strong fingers cautioning: rest now, you are cared for.

When I awaken I would like to meditate, with or without you, it is up to you. And I would like to do the samurai’s calisthenics (I can show you how), and brush my teeth in the cold stream. And it is the woods, so I would not need to shave. But I might anyways, because sometimes it is doubly nice shaving in the woods, one’s face pressed up near to an old little mirror over a wash basin set on a rickety winter-worn wood shelf.

And I would to make dark, dark coffee in a french press, but you are better at it.

I would like to care for you.

I would like to see you again, and I know you are in love and love is not available to me, and the funny thing is, I do not mind. Perhaps when one has come over a long mountainpass, and is hungry, happy, beaten, and sad, and finally humbled, and lonely, perhaps then sunshine is enough. And perhaps next time we could go for more than ten days, and never return.

“If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things, then this is the best season of your life.” ~ Wu-Men

Get your copy of Things I would like to do with You.



Hipster Cabin: Image: source. The actual image I would like to use is a thousand times less sexy and a thousand times more beautiful, but it is not mine to use, and it is of she who inspired this. And this is not about her, I do not know her.

Funny: I just realized I’m half writing about that video.

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view.


70 Responses to “Things I would like to do with You in the Woods.”

  1. Wow. Blown away. Amazing.

    Love this part: "until I fall asleepinyourwords."

  2. andeejo says:

    ah. yes. i always wonder if someone could ever feel that way about me. or if i'll get to feel that way about someone. someone kind. lovely thoughts… whether yes or no to either one…

  3. elephantjournal says:

    Some FB Comments:

    Markus S: Inspired!
    Carolyn Riker Avalani Beautiful, magical words…and a wow of a home tucked deep in the woods. thanks, you!

    Jodi V: Wow. Just wow…
    Joan M: Life is fleeting, love sometimes slow to find, and then fast to move away…
    Sharon P: Loverly

    Lois W: This is one of the sexiest stories I have ever read. I want to write like this.
    Brandy L: So heartfelt and emotional. I couldn't help but sing the words as I re read it over and over again.

    Cammie G: Written by someone who has felt love very deeply ….almost as if all of the conventions of surface love have been felt and worn out and now the truth of love is revealed . I hope the author gets a chance at this kind of love .

    Jes W totally cosmic! i just finished reading this to my sis who tends to stay away from online stories. we love it!

    Angie O You can come visit my woods. I have to build my cabin first.

    Kathleen R beautiful.

    Krystal L Thats very sweet

  4. :^)e rin says:

    i read this feeling intensely this is me- both writer and reader. (and viewer: cabinporn is awesome!)
    wonderful piece of writing!
    saving, as a reminder of what i am looking for and as a standard of measurement in what i find on this journey.
    thank you for all of the hard work, Waylon. this one gets printed.
    :^)e rin

  5. I have known such cabins and woods and love – and lost them over time and space and changing circumstance. Perhaps I will find such again. It is a beautiful dream of longing for love that sometimes happens – and often better than imagined, but usually not appreciated until later. Then, we dream of cabins and woods and loves that are lost, or how they would have/ should have been and perhaps will be again. This time, with the bedsheet shadow fort! This time, chopping wood as a sacred act and not a chore! This time, maybe we will not drift away and go our separate ways… Or fight. Or find another.
    Let us find our cabins in the woods. And find love that is not lost, but endures. Thank you for the glimpse of eternity.

  6. Zoe says:

    Oh my goodness. After reading that, I feel like I went on a vacation. This piece is a treasure.

  7. Beautiful Waylon. This is not the type of prose I usually read, but this really grabbed me, from the head and the heart. Thank you.

    • elephantjournal says:

      It's not what I normally write…I am corny as a human being, but as a writer, I find snark and humor much more comfortable. Thanks, Phil!

  8. elephantjournal says:

    Some FB Comments:

    Jenny Liz Nice to know someone else carries this in their heart too. Thank you for sharing it, Waylon.

    Amber Hunt Gaia Sophia Thank you.

    Kelli Haun This is lovely…and your heart is truly sweet. Thank you for sharing your words and vulnerability…gives me hope

    Alice Methvin Normand Beautiful words from a beautiful heart.
    Daniela Gugg Sweet, sure, but a little sad too …
    Lynn Kordon Goldberg My imagination flowed like I was there in the woods you described. Thank you for sharing and giving me an o so nice place to wonder. Thank you again ~

  9. deanabeana says:

    I cannot comment on or critique the writing, for I am not a writer, and also I think this is not the place for either. However, I can say that I have experienced something like this, only it was far more color-full and dreamlike. Magical. We spent months drunk in each other's gaze, and lost happily together in an other worldly existence we created. A swirling watercolor painting. As anyone who has ever been in love like this can attest, it is the most beautiful, and most ephemeral, of experiences. Thank you for the responses because it makes me appreciate how fortunate I am to have shared something so beautiful with my love. Love like this does not last, and it is better, therefore, to never know it. The pain of its unraveling has long since wrapped itself around my memories like a renegade upward vine. I still cannot speak about it coherently. But, thank you, nevertheless.

  10. offtheravenstongue says:

    I am crying!!!! That was poetically perfect…and written by a man- a surprise to my perceptions…this leaves me heartbroken and hopeful at the same time! Well done 🙂

  11. racytay says:

    I've been meaning to tell you that I am in love with that song from that video, thank you for sharing it with me/us. And I am in love with this written piece of open- heartedness, warmness, yearning, and possibility. I have never known love such as this, but I would like to think there is a person out there that is listening for my heart as I listen for theirs. Thank you for sharing.

  12. carissa says:

    "I value space more than even love, for in space we can dance." perfection Waylon…I hope you find it!

  13. misha says:

    I read this, rolled my eyes and thought of Sheila Heti's most recent work: You're just another man who wants to teach me something.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Perhaps I could teach you to hear me when I listen to you: "I would like to listen. I could do it half the night, hour turning over hour, until I fall asleepinyourwords. I need make up time: I need to listen and breathe and take you in and just stop. I need to relax, and breathe—and what I need most (of course) is to cry." Or did you miss that?

      And if you know how to cut wood, well, I'm happy to learn. I've known many women who can cut wood well, and I do not measure the worth of a man woman or child based on a single skill, and I do not lower the worth of any merely because I can teach them one thing, or something, or another; just as you should not lower my worth for knowing one thing, or something, or another—and enjoying the passing along of my love for it.

      Also, I'm sure you have much to teach—and it would be well worthwhile for me to listen—particularly once you get beyond your projections of "just another man." Objectification is a sad thing, whether its arrows are shot left or right.

      • andeejo says:

        is it weird that i enjoyed this little near-discussion almost as much as the actual post? i think one of the best things ever is someone who is interested and wants to actually have a dialogue to understand better 🙂

    • solfulsoul says:

      haha that made me smile.. but what's wrong with a man wanting to teach.. even if his listening eyes gleam with pedantry =)

  14. deanabeana says:

    I value space more than love, and want to love you for ten days. The dude is afraid of commitment people.

  15. Sonjia Weinstein says:

    So full of longing, it made me cry. This is what we all want – to be the "you" in this writing.

  16. Tara says:

    Simply magical… thank you for sharing so much depth… xox

  17. Camron Carpenter says:

    This is beautiful – a longing for shared time and space that will become the beauty of memories – Longing for the connection with someone – the piercing and knowing eye contact that changes everything. Of course HE wants to teach and share his knowledge and experience – that should be happily accepted and embraced. Humans want to share what they know – to give what they have learned – to share images and stories and experience and insight with "the one" or a "one" that they love. Women should embrace this – when it originates from a man and is given from love… and absolutely vice versa. Love needs Space to exist… Space and time and freedom and understanding and acceptance of when things flow beautifully and are as one thought that they would be perceived and preferred and imagined and when they ALSO are not – and all of THAT – being O K. The longing for the connection where between the two – it is good – sometimes bad – sometimes amazing and sometimes sad but in the end always ok and lovely in shared experience and time and space is ever burning – it burns within us. It burns within me. I long for it – dream of it – and dream of things i would say to my one when in the woods alone with her – just She and I.

  18. Sophie L says:

    Beautifully said – love…

  19. Ashley says:

    AMAZING. so so beautiful. thanks for the morning boost of loveliness and romance. my heart is pleasantly swollen 🙂

  20. Ashley says:

    beautiful, if she's not already packing for the trip . . . she will be coming along soon. What a beautiful practice of asking for what you want, I believe you will receive it 🙂

  21. Carrie B. says:

    Tender and show-offy like a little boy…see me cut wood–I am good at it? See my samurai calisthenics? I loved reading those bits especially–the parts where you want her to see you and you want her to see that you are good enough. We are all that way. We just don't say it. See me. I see you. See me? Truly beautiful and inspired writing about longing. Waiting. Finding. Showing. Listening. Love. Thank you.

    • elephantjournal says:

      My samurai calisthenics are not impressive…they're really slow and gentle and wonderful, but…they were taught to me by an 80 (now 94) year old man, and are about welcoming the sun, not getting in shape.

      That said, on the first point…I was a lumberjack, in Vermont, for a season or two.

  22. Judy says:

    Sweet, dreamy writing…a tip for you, though: If you fall asleep while she's talking, make sure she's not pouring her heart out about your relationship or telling you a childhood trauma…well, really, if she is talking to you, you probably shouldn't fall asleep, unless it is explicitly a bedtime story, like she's being your Mama. But that's kind of weird, too. Another tip: instead of writing to someone you don't know, pick someone you do know, and be really extra nice to them. It will increase your odds! And you do have to shave, not because it's fun, but because the beard growth will hurt her face, so you have to shave whether you want to or not, if you are going to be the type of guy the type of girl you want wants. Okay….more later…good luck.

    • elephantjournal says:

      There's nothing better than sleepy talking with a lover. It's like grown-up camp. There's no sense of ignoring one another, but of sharing love from waking into dreamland. I agree: ignoring a love does not good love make. That's not what I'd like to do with you in the woods.

      As for shaving, when it's longer, it's soft. When it's shaved, it's smooth—for about an hour. Then, it's deadly.

  23. Jennifer says:

    You just out did yourself, Waylon.

  24. nankins says:

    i too (a) was surprised the author is a male, (b) drink my dark french press alone every morning, (c) live in a small house in the woods of northern michigan, (d) gather wood each chilly morning for fire and warmth, (d) prefer paperbacks, and most importantly, (e) would like to spend 10 days with you Waylon (I would like to not come back for ten days (ten days is not long enough…).

  25. Jenn says:

    Love is so sweet~

  26. Jenn says:

    I love this dreamy love of a love~

  27. stunning writing. beautiful, sensitive, romantic and real. love…

  28. Aphrodite says:

    Wow…how heartbreakingly beautiful. 🙂 Quite a piece of writing from the heart. Thank-you.

  29. catgoddess says:

    How very very beautiful…

  30. Rachel says:

    'Perhaps when one has come over a long mountainpass, and is hungry, happy, beaten, and sad, and finally humbled, and lonely, perhaps then sunshine is enough'


    Sunshine that still touches on the body that holds a romantic heart with an ability to vision and dream

    • Phil U. says:

      Yes! This sentence stopped me, spoke to me, moved me. I am currently blessed with sunshine after a long mountainpass trek. What a learning it is to stay present and grateful and not attach to fantasies of the future…

  31. Emily says:

    You are beautiful. I love the last line, it made me tear up.

  32. John L says:

    Thank you Waylon for so eloquently speaking for the romantic but often subdued male heart! Curious, though: why choose the lead-picture icon and title that seem objectifying to women? What is with the use of an image of a young, alluring female? What was the thought process behind that?

    • elephantjournal says:

      Good catch! I actually addressed that image at the bottom of the above: "The actual image I would like to use is a thousand times less sexy and a thousand times more beautiful, but it is not mine to use, and it is of she who inspired this. And this is not about her, I do not know her."

  33. AnJill says:

    Wow … speechless…Way did you write this??? this is beautiful deep , lovely, raw emotion thanks for transporting me…
    PS : Love is available to you… here is a little ditty for you bro …love your soul sister Jill xox


    how can one small word mean so much?
    mean everything

    everything that is sacred
    everything that is real

    Oh love you're so elusive
    here then gone

    your fleeting moments
    encompass all the depth
    that I will ever know

    your truth and beauty
    will find me again

    jill virginia mangino

  34. Georgie says:

    Beautiful written word, utterly touched my heart .. Thank you xx

  35. Jenna B. Wiser says:

    Beautiful!! I will do this with my lover someday but we may never come back. #10 knows nothing of my love or has access to my phones/account. Someday soon I will be free to experience bliss like this with my love. Thank you for this inspiration!!

  36. Sarah Metzger says:

    This warms my soul and makes my heart smile.

  37. Sierra says:

    Let me join you and sit beneath the trees under the stars, each a pinhole of light in everlasting darkness…I will go with you! 🙂 So lovely <3

  38. Lacy says:

    I read this long ago, feeling much depth from it. I searched, and searched, and searched for this article many times with hope of endlessly reading it, and feeling it, with no luck, until now. BEAUTIFUL! Already printed off and saved forever.

  39. Mariana says:

    Beautiful! Lots of inspirations dancing around in my head after reading this.

  40. Dhruva says:

    I have read this a few times, it is just soooooo good. Makes me feel warm inside. Thank you 🙂

  41. Elliott Smiggen says:

    You are an amazing person, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful exploration into reality and the imagination

  42. HeroGames says:

    Good job my friend is very cool article nice man.

    al3ab tabkh

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