Finding your soul in the wilderness.

The wilderness. It is my church. It is my consoler. It is part of who I am. It is comforting to know that it is there, even when at times it feels so far away from me. Whether I am hunting, fishing, hiking, kayaking or camping, I always feel a connection when I am in nature. True wilderness is harder to find these days and keeps getting pushed farther away from us. It is shrinking every day and we need to make sure we protect it. With the expansion of civilization and our younger generations spending more time looking down at a smart-phone instead of looking up at the trees and mountains, it’s easy to see how this precious resource is threatened. Wilderness is as important to me as food, water and shelter. It is a place where I go to re-discover myself. It recharges my soul and keeps me balanced.

As the first blog to our new site, I am using pieces from an article I came across a while back. It says exactly how I feel and is written much better than I could ever do. The article was published by The National Parks Magazine, in January, 1946, and written by Sigurd F. Olson (1899-1982).

 “I have found that people go to the wilderness for many things, but the most important of these is perspective. They may think they go for the fishing or the scenery or companionship, but in reality it is something far deeper. They go to the wilderness for the good of their souls. I sometimes feel as though they had actually gone to another planet from which they can watch with cool detachment the fierce and sometimes meaningless scurryings of their kind. Then when the old philosophy of earth-oneness begins to return to them, they slowly realize that once again they are in tune with sun and stars and all natural things, and with that knowledge comes happiness and contentment.

To place a value on wilderness is as difficult as to speak of the value of a landmark or an heirloom in terms of money. There are certain things that cannot be evaluated because of their emotional appeal. Wilderness is in this category. While a certain area might have worth as a museum piece, or because of certain economic factors, its real worth will always depend upon how people feel about it and what it does for them. If it contributes to spiritual welfare, if it gives them perspective and a sense of oneness with mountains, forests, or waters, or in any way at all enriches their lives, then the area is beyond price. It is as hard to place a true value on wilderness as it is to decide what type of wild country is the best. What one man needs and finds satisfying, might not be at all what another requires. In the final analysis each man knows within himself what it is he wants, and in each case his choice is tempered by his own past, his dreams and memories, his hopes for the future, and his ability to enjoy.

Whatever their type and wherever they are found, be these wilderness places large or small, mountains, lakes, deserts, swamps or forests, they do fill a vital need. Gradually wilderness has become a cultural necessity to us, the people of America, and while it does play an important recreational role, its real function will always be as a spiritual backlog in the high speed mechanical world in which we live. We have discovered that the presence of wilderness in itself is a balance wheel and an aid to equilibrium.”

The wilderness. There, if you have perspective, you may recharge your soul.

– Richard Logsdon