I believe in the power of the power of wilderness.
Everyday I take people away from their everyday lives and bring them into another world. I am a wildlife guide who specializes in finding wolves and grizzly bears in Yellowstone national park. And I believe in the power of wilderness.
When I leave civilization and enter the wilderness with my clients I am taking them to an unknown world, as we start our journey people seem content to chat on their cell phones or make idle conversation, but as we enter deeper into the unknown people begin to lose the thread of conversation and move into their own worlds into worlds of self contemplation, the wilderness makes us aware of ourselves.
I take the stock broker, the CEO, the movie star and the lawyer into the wilderness and I show them that a grizzly bear cares nothing for money or ego, to the grizzly we are meat, nothing more. A grizzly cares nothing for power or position; it sees no difference between the janitor or the billionaire. A grizzly looking at a us without human motivation is the great equalizer. The wilderness makes us aware or the world outside our own petty heads. It shows us that perhaps we are not the superior beings we think we are. The wilderness cares nothing of these things, and it boils us down to the simplest of ideas. To the wilderness we are the animal, to the wilderness we are just another flavor of meat. The wilderness expands our shallow view of our humanity. I did not really understand the changes wilderness can create in people until I saw it each and every day, I did not understand the changes wilderness has created in me until I saw those same changes reflected in other people. I find that often I have changed most of all.
I believe we live in a great nation because it has left us a lasting wilderness to experience, to know, to feel the power it gives us. We cannot be whole as a people without this power; we cannot know anything unless we understand on the most primal level the natural system and our place in it.
To hear the howls of the wolf, to watch newborn bison run and frolic under watchful mothers eyes, to see wolves kill a baby bison then watch another born is to experience the natural system. To see the grizzly is to understand that we are not apart from that system. To know that a new wolf generation is building strength with fresh food is to understand that one thing feeds another and that all had its place. I believe in the power of wilderness to show us once again that we are part of the system. I believe that comfort with ones self and ones life, that contentment and understanding can only be found in knowing where you come from.
I believe we come from the watchful eyes of the grizzly, from the howl of the wolf, from the bleat of the baby bison. I believe in the power of wilderness to show us that we have never left that world, I believe in the power of wilderness to show us or deepest essence as humanity
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.