This photo challenge is familiar. In 2012, there was a similar challenge which I responded to in this fashion. I still blog about all those things, but lately, I’ve come to realize that I have been going through an evolution inspired by a specific concept: WILDERNESS. In fact, I have an entire page set up to link to my wilderness posts. (Feel free to browse around there!) This last weekend, Steve and I went to find some wilderness in the U.P. (the Upper Peninsula of Michigan). Sure enough, there were 3 federally designated wilderness areas in the western portion of that state. We went to the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness in the Ottawa National Forest. In 1987, logging operations there ceased and the logging roads were left to return to wilderness. We were told by a forest ranger that the old road is a 7.5 mile “trail” that traverses the wilderness and given a map. She warned us, though, that it’s not maintained. We attempted to hike from both trail heads, but only got about 50 feet along before we realized that we would be foolish to go any further. As I headed back toward the car, I realized that I was crying. Not because I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to hike there, but for a very different, special reason. It was as if I had been invited into the sanctuary of a foreign religion or to spend half an hour on a different planet. I was humbled. I was in awe. I felt a reverence for the place that put my presence in profound perspective. It wasn’t quite like I didn’t belong; it was that I belonged no more especially than anything else there, even the tiniest fungus spore. It was a supreme experience of equality. I did not dominate in any way. I jokingly told Steve that this was a place “where men are food and flies are king”, but I was feeling anything but glib in my soul.
Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness, Upper Peninsula Michigan
To find yourself in the sanctuary of wilderness is to feel the breath of the Divine all around. Breathe it in. Be inspired.