As a rule, I try to avoid philosophy as strenuously as I avoid honest work. I would as soon read Hegel or Kant or Nietzsche as I would pound a darning needle up my nose. But sometimes one is forced to think about something more all encompassing than Ms. Mila Kunis (pictured here).

While hunting in New Zealand this past spring, I ran into a South African hunter of vast experience who said, in the course of our conversation, “The purpose of hunting isn’t to kill some stupid animal. It’s to give yourself a chance to stand alone in the wilderness and realize how insignificant you are.”

Forty years ago Ted Trueblood (There was an outdoorsman!) wrote about feeling exactly the same thing while looking up at the stars in an Idaho night sky.

A Montanan I was hunting with in the Bangtails on a bitter cold November day, apropos of nothing, said, “I love these mountains … but they scare the hell out of me.”

I had my own moment sitting on the beach at Midway Atoll, the only human around, looking out at the Pacific Ocean. If you would ever care for a good dose of your own insignificance, I highly recommend regarding the Pacific.

Take these thoughts into the woods with you this fall.