A Regular Dose of Wilderness

Scientific studies aside, getting outdoors rejuvenates me. The more, the better. Well, within reason. I draw the line at sleeping in a tent unless absolutely necessary. Too many traumatic associations of tent-camping with toddlers keep that as a no-go for me.

Here’s a taste of my yesterday dose of wilderness:

Abandoned cabin at Pothole Ranch on BC’s Gang Ranch – second largest ranch in Canada

Abandoned root cellar at Pothole Ranch

The Chilcotin River, which runs through Farwell Canyon, is an off-shoot of the Fraser River

The bees were busy on this tree

“Mom, we need to go do something in the wilderness,” said my oldest daughter, who’s been working hard as a supervisor and safety coordinator for road construction all week.

“I know,” I said. “I’ve been so busy. But I am going to have to just make it happen.”

“Yes, that’s when we need it the most,” she said. “I read a sign that said we should get out in nature for at least 20 minutes a day. And on days when we’re really busy, we need to get out even more.”

It is true. I get so buried by the “gotta-do’s” in my life that I run out of Steen:

the cooking, the cleaning, the grocery restocking and the other errands in town;

the appointments for various family members;

the overseeing of my younger children and their learning and socializing;

the paperwork and the organization of it;

the bill management and everything finance-related;

the scheduled and also the unexpected;

the prioritizing of urgencies, and the abandoning of priority to the emergencies.

And that’s not even mentioning the book project I try to squeeze in every day. Those documents are always open on my computer, in front of which I sit for a few minutes at a time, several times a day. Some days I only add a few lines. Some days I edit what was already there. Some days I can’t squeeze in a moment or a word.

I often leave my phone on a charger where I cannot see or hear it. Almost every time I check it, there are messages. I have lost friends because of my inability to sit down and return calls. I try to at least fire a text message or email in reply where possible.

My home is surrounded by wilderness. All I need to do is step outside and I hear birds singing. Trees and other foliage grow wild everywhere I look in my yard and beyond it. And the air is fresh and clean.

I walk in nature every chance I get, even if it is a few minutes to see the sky. I go for longer walks when able, alone or with family members, hiking up hills or meandering along forest trails; and breaking up the walk with sprints to get in some higher intensity intervals for increased health benefits is a nice way to spice up a walk. Outright longer runs are satisfying, too.

And every so often, I get to expand the radius of my wilderness enjoyment. Yesterday’s trip to Farwell Canyon, BC, meant 2-1/2 hours of driving to reach that spot, but I was with three of my kids, listening to music in my son’s Jeep while he drove, laughing, talking, and enjoying the views. The journey was as much a part of the destination as was the first step outside onto silent ground.

Water running over rocks. Sandstone hoodoos. Blue skies bedecked with white clouds. Grass, trees, and many more greens than I can name.

I need it.

I love it.

I thank God for it.

I look forward to more of it, in abundance, never fading or decaying, in the place my Lord Jesus has prepared for me, which is far better than even the best taste of wilderness this world has shown me.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

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Empty Spaces

The Mall in a small town in British Columbia, Canada

“What shall we use
To fill the empty spaces
Where we used to talk?
How shall I fill
The final places?
How should I complete the wall?”

Oh! I know! How about social media! Yes, we can fill those empty spaces with Facebook. We won’t need to talk anymore. That will complete the wall I build around myself.

I can put writing on my wall, and post pictures of me and my friends and my family and all the fun things we seem to be doing all the time…

But it won’t really be me.

Or how about we don’t do any of that?

How about we find some empty spaces into which we can put ourselves?

How about we go out into the wilderness and fill the space between a handful of trees for a moment, touch their greens and browns, and drink in the sounds of their moving parts as their trunks shield us from the wind?

Or how about we walk in a field and make our silhouette become part of the landscape?

Or how about we walk down the paved sidewalks of town and look up at the sky, however much sky can be seen between the structures of what was once trees but now is wooden framing, what was once rock but is now part of the concrete, and what was once ore underfoot but is now steel? Weave through the structures of flesh and spirit that move past you. Touch them with your eyes and your smile.

(I couldn’t just put “Empty Spaces” on as a link. I needed to include “Young Lust”, for to leave it out would be an OCD faux pas.)