“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilised people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”– John Muir
What if you started a travel blog, and then a pandemic happened?
Strange times we live in here in 2020. Services in National Parks are shut down or operating at reduced capacity. Group campgrounds are closed in many areas including the San Juan Rockies in Colorado. Mount Lemmon and Sabino Canyon are shut down in the Tucson area after the Bighorn Fire burned over 110 thousand acres. This has many people on edge, missing their fix on the outdoors, missing their fountains of life.
There’s an idea that nature is a healing place. A great notion that’s certainly true, but many people end up bringing their city think along with them, talking out problems like nature is some nonjudgmental therapist. This is all fine-and-good even while it misses the point of the power of nature.
Wildness is a necessity, but the real healing power of nature is not to bring the city along with you or to think of going there as an escape from the city. The reason to go is to be in nature. To walk without talk. To sit in the present moment, to feel the fountains of life. We all too often forget this.
Part of the overrunning of National Parks and wild places is people bringing their heavy lives with them. They end up claiming these natural places as belonging to them in the same way their back yard belongs to them. The rangers and employees become their public servants, not the caretakers of the land. And this attitude misses the whole idea of wildness. If wild places are merely an escape, why not pop some pills and go to sleep in your backyard? A dream is also an escape.
The true naturalist does not escape their over-civilised lives to go into the mountains and canyons and wild areas. They return home to nature, rejuvenate themselves in the fountains of life, and bring that calmness back with them.
The wild lands and parks will still be there when travel feels safe again, and perhaps they will regain some of their energy and mystery by not being so overused for escape from over-civilised humans looking for a fix. It’s always great to get back home to nature once again.