If summer is come, June 21st, can vacation be far behind? Unless we’re in for a stay-cation, that means getting out of town, finding our way somewhere else. When we live in town and work in the city, we often head for someplace far from “civilization,” remote, wild. I always develop palpitations when I reach some cabin by the water and find that there is no cell reception. The anxiety lasts about a day and is invariably followed by sheer delight.
There is something healing and restorative about being in nature, especially for us who live a kind of unnatural life. John Muir founded the Sierra Club in 1892, partly to encourage urbanites to flee cities and find their way back into nature. In 1901 Muir wrote, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.” If Muir was saying this110 years ago, how much more do we need to hear this now?
Muir hoped that once they were reunited with the natural world, people would work to protect and preserve wilderness. “It took more than three thousand years to make some of the trees in these Western woods,” he wrote, “trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the mighty forests of the Sierra. Through all the wonderful, eventful centuries since Christ’s time—and long before that—God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods; but he cannot save them from fools, —only Uncle Sam can do that.”
So, happy summer to you. I hope you find your way to some corner of God’s wild kingdom, if only for a lazy day.
Alice in LA says
I live 20 miles northeast of Los Angeles and have 240 hours of vacation banked. That’s how much I don’t get away. But in July there is the perfect week for me to take off, and last Friday a distant cousin offered use of their simple cabin in June Lake (north of Mammoth) over the summer. My soul went there immediately, I just have to wait a few more weeks for my body to follow. (And I am promised there is very little cell reception.)
Susie Middleton says
Yes, I was thinking about this as I crouched beneath a shady tangle of pea vines this morning–so elemental and invigorating to be part of nature. Thanks for writing and hope you all are enjoying your travels! susie
sally johnson says
Here’s a book about the wilderness for you all: “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed. Definitely from a woman’s point of view and wonderful (and a little crazy!!).