Growing up in Northern California has had a tremendous effect on my respect and love for nature and the outdoors. When I lived in Santa Rosa, I would think nothing of driving to Bodega Bay, the Russian River or taking a saunter in Jack London State Park one day and then driving to the Sierras the next day. Mountain biking, hiking, or backpacking was a part of my life—the wilderness has always been a place of refuge and healing for me.
As I've moved around the country, the places I grew up going to in Northern California have been replaced with Big Sugar Creek State Park, Prairie State Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Ochoco National Forest. No matter where I have lived I always try to find a sacred space to draw closer to God and recharge my soul. The chasm between earth and humanity is not as wide or deep as we think.
The sound of the wind rustling through evergreens is the sound of creation singing a psalm of prayers to God to bring healing to all of creation. One drink from a mountain spring can bring refreshment to last a lifetime. And nothing brings peace and steadiness to my spirit as watching wildflowers dancing together in a meadow to the rhythm of a gentle breeze.
It’s hard to prove through science the curative qualities of what being out in the wilderness can do to someone’s soul. Yet to the hiker, the backpacker or outdoors person they’ll tell you unequivocally that the wilderness will cleanse and revitalize the soul. Although more and more research is starting to support this : Being outside can improve memory, fight depression, and lower blood pressure
There is a level of destructive loathing and divisiveness in our nation at the moment. Anytime we put our fellow human beings in an arena designed for bloodletting, no one wins. I’m taken aback by our lust to see each other devour one another for the sake of showing who’s right and who’s wrong.
It won’t matter who wins this one, everyone of us will experience this bleeding for a while, if it ever stops. It won’t and hasn’t for Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh, the senators, and their family members—husbands, wives, kids, grandkids, etc...
They are humans just as you and I are humans—they got family, friends, coworkers and neighbors. Imagine if you were one of them—I know what you’re thinking: you’d never be involved a in similar situation to them, and I bet neither did any of them.
Sure, you might say they’re getting what they've asked for. It’s easy to say when your sitting in the box seats of the arena looking on with your fingers ready to pounce on your keypad.
But I’m not so sure anyone—them, you or me wakes up in the morning and says, “I want XYZ to happen today.” If you think this, then you’re fooling yourself and you’ve forgotten what it means to be human.
If you want to get your humanity back, go on a long hike, canoe down a river, kayak out in the bay, or go camping where you can't get any cell reception—I'll guarantee you will find your humanity and you just might find your soul..
I want to leave you with this quote:
“Everybody needs beauty...places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.”
― John Muir