Why do people go to the mountains? I think the biggest reason for me, is how it restores my spirit, and refreshes my soul. Being in the mountains makes my heart sing, and fills me up. Perhaps John Muir said it best:
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
For me, even when I’ve had a terrible day, and feel stressed out, despairing or otherwise down in the dumps, if I can just make myself get out for a walk in the mountains, in the forest, and connect with nature, my whole mood lifts, and I feel a little more hopeful. I think that’s why wilderness plays an even more important role in this day and age, to serve as those last refuges for people to connect with nature. A book, Last Child in the Woods, even explored the growing concern that current generations of children are suffering from “Nature Deficit Disorder”. Are children so wrapped up in video games, Internet surfing, and smartphones, that they are missing out on the magic of nature’s experience? I heard on a public radio article, that people who spend more time in a natural environment are healthier and live longer. What are the ramifications of this Nature Deficit Disorder on future generations of children? I know for myself, despite the convenience that technology brings, nothing can quite replace the feeling I get when I explore the forests, mountains and lakes around me.
As I was driving the Peak to Peak highway this morning, and caught the glow of the morning sunrise off Mt. Meeker in the above picture, I found myself reflecting on these very same ideas. Hopefully, there’s a place for national parks, wilderness and forests in our future….