Saturday, February 1, 2014


My new man, a real smart wildlife ecologist has an accomplished career in saving wilderness for the sake of the wild things.
Our conversation often turns to ways we might get people involved in caring about the preservation of the wild.
The conclusion is always; kids.
If we don't instil the importance of it in our young, impressionable generations we have missed all hope of saving what is left.
So, then the question; how do we get them interested in it to care enough to realize the importance of saving it?
I hate to tell him, but often do, that the youth of today, unfortunately is entertained not by a walk in the woods, rather by the phone/tablet/laptop at their fingertips. Pretty pictures of Nature. It seems that many children are raised today without any sense of the sacred or of there being something, anything bigger or more omnipotent than they are.
I ask the question of all my friends.
The answer I get is; In order to appreciate it truly, it takes more than a wild life film, more than a book, more than pretty pictures on Pinterest or We Heart It, more even than imagination itself. You must be out in it!
To Get Nature, you have to get a little Nature on you!
I think back, and ask you to do the same, and send me a comment if you would please, when I was young, how did I get so turned on to the almighty Mother Nature?
I read a journal my mother attempted to keep. It only had a couple entries in it. On return from a walk, my brother being pushed by mom in the stroller and me skipping down the sidewalk, she wrote: They just love being outside!
As we became more independent, my brother and I played along with the rest of the neighbor kids on a south facing hill below our neighborhood. It was a thicket of gamble oak. Each of us had our own little fort, a small clearing in the oakbrush. They were all connected by game trails. We played there every summer day from when I was 3 'til I was 7.
When we got older we often took family vacations and always to some natural wonder. Somewhere along the way, each of my parents had a sense in them of the beauty and appreciation of Nature. And they put it in us.
Being from Salt Lake City we would often go camping in the Uintahs. I remember seeing moose, and elk come busting through a large meadow as we ate our fire roasted corn on the cob at the picnic table. How grand to see wild animals. We'd hike to a secluded little, secret lake that my mother adored and along the way my brother and I would be in the boggy ponds and trickling creeks, up to our armpits catching polywogs.
My father and I continued to venture to those mountains even as I became a young adult out on my own. One time I left him to fish at one of his favorite lakes and I went on a mountainside excursion. I remember making the acquaintance of a set of three curious pine martens. As I walked a trail that threaded thick conifers I heard a scurry. I stopped, and looked around. All three of them, stacked one on top of the other in the crotch of a tree, just watching me, and making little creature comfort noises. I'd never seen a marten before.
We went to Jackson, the Tetons, and Yellowstone every few years. It was only five hours away. Not far to go for such grandeur. I remember the exhilaration every time of turning that bend in the road after leaving the town, on first site of the Tetons. What incredible mountains! And maybe there was something in the way my folks ooh'd and awe'd that made my brother and I think this was not ordinary but special.
Our parents took us on hikes in the local Wasatch range. It was literally in the back yard. We pinic'd often in one of the Cottonwood canyons. And as a teenager we played in the foothills and secondary canyons there.
In my 20's I lived and worked at Alta. Summer and winter. I became intimate with all the surrounding peaks, lakes and secret little meadows. During the interims we would go to the deserts, both west and south. The mountain people, these were, and continue to be my peeps.
Now I live near the Bison Range in the Mission Valley of Montana. I can see bison and elk in the wildlife preserve, from the window. Deer are lawn ornaments, coyotes carrol nightly, and chase voles in the pasture in the mornings. We comment on how most people don't get to see bald eagles and blue herons every day, and these glorious mountains, Wow!
Take your babies to Nature.

No comments:

Post a Comment