Wednesday, December 26, 2018

On to new beginnings

As our thoughts slowly turn towards home, I look forward to 2019, a year full of possibilities that looks like a creative mix of the computer keyboard and the chainsaw. Writing and carpentry are a happy combination for me; one activity frees up the brain for the other and each puts a strain on very different muscles. I have a feeling sore muscles are waiting for me!

My wildlife orphans from my time at Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter are still on my mind almost every day. My second crew of 11 black bear cubs was released back into the wild this summer, and I hope with all my heart that most of them managed to fatten up in fall and that they’re hibernating now. My first group of 13 cubs is now already into their second hibernation in the wild and I can’t help but wonder how many of them are still alive. How amazing it would be to run into one of them in the wild …

All the other little orphans, my geese and ducks, the raven, the owls, deer and moose, are roaming free again and are still tugging at my heart. Their incredible voyage from near-death to thriving health, from abject fear to rambunctious fun was such a privilege to witness. So much so that I will volunteer at wildlife rehab centres again in the future, though most likely just for shorter stretches of time, and try to give back some of the joy and happiness their wild relatives keep giving me at our wilderness home. I can’t wait for that.

Here’s to a healthy, happy and exciting 2019 for all of you! I hope you’ll be able to make a dream or two come true!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Desert thoughts

I’ve always felt the most connected to sparse, harsh landscapes - the high alpine, the far north – where life is fierce and tenacious, and the play of sunlight on the mountains is like a drug. The Sonoran Desert embodies all this, each cactus and thorn bush thrust up from the sandy ground like a proclamation.

Landscapes are not an extraneous thing, something apart from us - we’re part of them, human particles moving around in the larger organism. I lose myself in walking as the dust and air and scents become absorbed by my body, fill me, fulfill me, and for moments at a time I almost cease to be as a separate entity. I’m an ecosystem within an ecosystem, wilderness inside a wild landscape.

I know this much: I will definitely return to thru-hike the Arizona Trail which we’ve been crisscrossing on our day hikes these past few weeks.