I’ve been able to find myself in wilder places during the uncomfortable times in life. It’s soothing, necessary, and incomparably beautiful. The most recent of times have been trying: finding myself ever more displeased with the nature of working in a want-based society, the ails of death and illness, and the overall lack of good judgment executed by the leaders of your country. It is difficult, at best, to remain within a society which no longer appreciates the benefits of a stroll in the woods.
There is something greater, there, in the forests, on the high point in a valley of red sandstone, or on a river in a boat. And though there is much more there than is found in your office on the 14th floor; what is not there is a pot of gold. The financier has no boat waiting at the top of the mountain for there is nothing there. There will always be those who climb the mountain for the tangible reward, only to be disillusioned when they arrive and find nothing but another pile of rocks and that they have only climbed to the top of what then appears to be the neighborhood’s tallest pile of sand.
The more I work, selling things to people because they need them, however they need them, I long for the life outside and need it more as the days go on. Everyday inside requires another two outside. And I’m not the only one. I refer to Ed Abbey often because I relate to what he had to say. It makes sense that a man must be outside in his natural environment for healing, mental reprieve, and above all, fresh air. The times when I’m surrounded by the walls of civilized life are when the shadows become monsters and the monsters become real. There is no reason to be so afraid of going outside. The monsters are on the inside.
For relief, I recently took a ski trip away from my home ski town, to a place much less crowded. My home town is over run and hardly what it used to be. The angry metropolitans have come and brought their lifestyle with them: fancy cars, attitude, and increased property taxes to name few. So when I take a ski trip I go to a place that is far from that and far removed from the convenient way of airline travel. Those conveniences that bring metros to my town are the ones that we really don’t need. Not people like me anyway. That’s all part of eliminating the journey, making it too easy to forget, and henceforth commonplace. All of that takes away from the happiness of the man..
During this particular trip a friend was with whose mom died at the very close of our stay. She wasn’t home, a couple hours away as it were. It had been expected and welcome from my understanding. It was a case of Lou Gerhigs, one that slowly disables the body until the victim becomes a prisoner of the body until it finally gives up body function. It seems to be the only thing worse than cancer. It seems that her mothers death was also a relief. And so she was skiing, coping, living. It was her way to deal with it. And in her mothers passing, she was being healed by the very presence of the natural world that surrounded her.
To those who seek continued destruction of natural places in the vain pursuit of oil and trees and minerals, there will come a time when you will find no peace in the destruction of your world. You will be restless and sick most of your life, dealing with the ignorance that you’ve destroyed the one resource that can restore health to a beleaguered spirit.
Make a journey, forget your wealth, find the wild places, leave behind the wretched dirty air of your sterile office and find adventure. Learn to survive.