Monday, June 24, 2013

The Necessity of Wild Places

I sat on a porch just outside Yosemite the other morning, hands curled around a cup of coffee and barefoot toes tapping to this song. The night prior, I had slept in a meadow, watching the Milky Way arch it's back across the sky and listened to the coyotes sing their song in such a loud and somber note, I thought I was dreaming it.

And yesterday night, I sat atop a ridge looking across the ocean, with a wind that blew a damp cold into my bones that only sea air knows how to do. I watched the ocean heave in swells and I thought a lot about the necessity of wildness.

"Just now I can hardly conceive of any bodily condition dependent on food and breath any more than the ground or sky." (John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra)

In between these places, I've been shuffled down overcrowded highways to cities and this culture shock has been hard on my system. And I've thought about this quote from Muir as I've looked around at those whose foreheads lean on their hands in traffic, and those who are constantly staring at their phones while walking, and those who have a general tiredness about them from the rushing and waiting. So many are suffering from nature deficit and don't even know. I wished for all of them that they could smell the coastal sage in the evenings and wrap their arms around a redwood, and listen to the Merced before they slept.

After 12,000 miles on the road at 8 weeks of travel, I can say that I've come to realize how much I need wildness in my life; to see the moon sit on the horizon and the stars grow brighter and to listen to how the wind in the pines sounds like the ocean. I'm so lucky that I get to experience this all the time and I've been able to carve a life for myself that allows me to be in those places so frequently. I feed off of it, and get so depleted from the city life.

And in the past day, when I've sat in the cab and stared out the window at the skyscraper scene that has replaced my mountain scene, I've thought that there is a wildness about the city that I don't completely understand. It works for some but oh, I miss the internal West.

1 comment:

  1. beautifully written. very descriptive, poetic full of emotions that I could totally relate to. Very well done.
    Ruti Yudovich
    A friend of Lezlie Lehmann