I’ve been slowly making my way through Sig Olson’s wilderness essays, Wilderness Days. They’re gorgeous. I sent the kid up to the outfitting job with a copy, because where better to work through essays on the Boundary Waters than on the edge of the Boundary Waters? I don’t know if she’s had the time or energy to pull them out, but I’ve been working on it.
They were written in a different time, when the battle for the wilderness was still alive, but in a different incarnation. Here we sit on the cusp of a monumental threat to the Boundary Waters and the entire watershed, all the way up to Hudson Bay, and Sig’s voice still rings clear. This is a place that we have to leave alone. A place we have to protect from the marching forward of progress, and all the destruction that can sometimes be left in the wake of such.
My eldest daughter is finding her place out there among the meeses and the baar. Listening to loon calls and silence. Sending folks out to meet creation face to face. I am jealous.
We’ll get there, as we do every year, but suddenly one week just doesn’t seem like enough time. I am under no illusion that I could survive a year in the maws of the North Country, with little more than a slip of nylon as my roof through the tundra of winter, but I do harbor some fantasies of a longer trip than we’ve made. Maybe someday we’ll set out for a month in a canoe. Maybe someday we’ll sit through the changing of the seasons miles from the nearest asphalt roof. Maybe someday.
For now, I will just be jealous of the little human I made who gets to live there on the edge for the summer and well into the fall. She’ll spend most of her time helping others into the wilderness, but she’ll have her share of jaunts up and into the deeper depths herself as well. I hope that she takes not a single one of those opportunities for granted, for she is living in a place where the veil between heaven and earth is so very thin it’s almost imperceptible.
It is a glorious thing to have such places in your life. Whether for one day per year, or every day of your life, to be reminded of the power and grandeur of the creation around you. To be ushered in by the Creator Himself. To be taught the lessons that only the wild can teach.
I know that the opportunities are lingering under my nose all the time. Beauty and splendor and blessings beyond measure. But I am still grateful for those supra-normal experiences that have the power to get my attention a little more forcefully. Like the changing of the seasons, I am thrilled to have places and people and events in my life, messengers from above, that drop in occasionally with a flash of lightening that even my dense senses can’t overlook. The Boundary Waters is one of those. And for this place I am thankful.
Live well, R…
We’ll be there soon,