I am loosing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.
– JOHN MUIR
I took a screen shot of this quote from Instagram awhile ago. I do that. My camera roll is half full of these things. Sometimes words like this, stop me dead in my tracks and I don’t always know why. I tuck them away for future reference. Everything falls into place, eventually.
The quest for a piece of “wildness”, is not a journey I was consciously aware I was on. I didn’t know I was missing it in my life. I’ve always fancied myself a city girl. My parents have tried to show me the benefits of living further afield, where life is a bit less tamed by the constraints of civic rules and regulations. I’ve been curious, but never enough to commit.
Recently, on a trip to Cortes Island, something in me shifted. Luckily something similar tugged at my husbands heartstrings. Timing is everything. We didn’t seriously speak of it until almost the end of our stay. We toured a piecce of waterfront land and all the pieces clicked into place. We both knew, this is it. Of course, this is not a movie, we don’t pan from that moment to a view of us happily sipping coffee, enjoying the view. Real life has many more hoops to jump through to get from “A” to “Z”. I’m not sure which letter we are on just now, but we are getting towards the end.
Eventually, we will join the cast of characters which have commited to steward a piece of wildness. The memories of those who have come before remains strong on Cortes. There are remnants of the past everywhere you look and it is a rich legacy. But you have to really look, in order to see. For many people from the city, a shell midden or an old orchard, the wild mint and oregano, these things blend into the rest. For me they are symbols of the industry those who came before had. The fortitude to carve out a life in a place so beautiful, it takes your breath away. But a place of wildness. Not for the faint of heart.
Of course, we are not pioneers trying to clear the land with hand tools. We are not up against the hard deadline of the approaching winter. We don’t worry about the fruitfullness of the crop and the extremely hard work of preserving sustanence for the dormant season. We have the luxury of time, resources and distance. It could take us years to create permanent living quarters. We will only be able to enjoy weeks at a time, rather than months. We can purchase what we need from as far away as we like. This is a different era.
But our quest for wildness knows no time. It is more primal. It is something all humans crave. Even if you don’t realize it. There are riches to be discovered, which are priceless. That is what we have found.