“Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit”
“Thousands of tired nerve-shaken over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is gong home, that wilderness is a necessity”
“The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth … the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need — if only we had the eyes to see.”
— Edward Abbey
“This is the most beautiful place on earth.
There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary.”
This is the most beautiful place on earth. These words by Edward Abbey come to mind this morning, this perfect morning, at home. “There are many such places”. And there are. I have been away from home for ten days and have seen many of these most beautiful places – Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Craters of the Moon, The Nez Perce Trail, Capital Reef… Landscapes so varied and divine as to be overwhelming. Wondrous.
But no less wondrous are the home woods… deep forests and tall trees, raven conversations, deer family visits, chipmunks, dandelions, luxuriant green carpets, stone song, bees buzzing, one perfect sky-blue butterfly, tiny wild violets, the sunlight on the new maple leaves…
Yes, there are wonders everywhere. Beauty. Connection. Spirit.
Home holds me. The most beautiful place on earth.
The ranger at the entrance station for Bryce National Park provides a brochure that explains the science behind the majestic spires, cathedrals, layers of colors, sculptures… but the facts can’t prepare you for the wonder of it all. The scale, the quiet, the sacred feeling that pervades – all are immense. Travelers talk in whispers. We glance at each other with a sort of shrug that says, “How can we take in all this?” It is sacred, it is all encompassing, it is peace.
“If a man knew enough he could write a whole book about the juniper tree. Not juniper trees in general but that one particular juniper tree that grows from a ledge of naked sandstone near the old entrance to Arches National Monument.”
-Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire, A Season in the Wilderness