Gerald G. May (1940 - 2005) was a psychiatrist, spiritual counselor, and senior fellow in contemplative theology and psychology at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Bethesda, Maryland. He wrote many books including The Dark Night of the Soul. In this memoir, he describes his experiences in the wilderness in the early 1990s. He writes: "I am sharing my stories here in the hope that they will encourage ('give heart to') you in your own willingness to be taught and healed by Nature's grace." During these times he felt a unity with the world and a heightened sense of attention to being present. He also experienced the presence of the Divine Feminine as "the Power of the Slowing."
May's father was an expert outdoorsman who believed that the wilderness offered men a chance to play, to tap into the wild man inside, and to "soften up." His mother saw nature as an adversary something to be tamed. It took May many years to muster the resolve to venture into the wilderness on his own and feel relaxed and at ease. Of course, once he is plopped down in a tent, his mind starts up a nonstop barrage of anxieties about bugs and bears and storms. But Mother Nature calms his soul and teaches him to let down his defenses and be open and receptive to her teachings. May writes about night fear, cicadia song, a perfection of trees, a swan killing a duck, the seasons, rainstorms, and more.