For medicinal purposes

Posted by Ken Campbell December 8, 2011 0 Comment 1006 views

I think there is not enough made of the value of wilderness. Specifically, the value of the healing power of wild spaces amid the chaos of modern life and death.
We seem to have no trouble with other means of coping, with drinking or drugs (given that they are legal and expensive, of course), with religious dogma, scrapbooking or retail therapy. Our list of acceptable psychiatric assistance includes all sorts of Freudian-this and 12-step that, but there is not nearly as much said about the truly natural approach as there needs to be.
It is therapy for tough times, I would say, to take an hour-long paddle in the cold hours before dawn. To hike for a mile or twelve on a random unmapped track on the side of a sweet, dark mountain somewhere. To find a stretch of glassy river that is untouched, or almost so, and to glide without a sound past wading birds and wild-eyed raptors. To put down tracks on unmarked powdery snow, miles away from the nearest courthouse, church or strip mall.
It is another hard week in our house, another week where the difference between life and death is front-and-center, where salty water is falling unchecked onto already tear-stained shirt sleeves and pillows. When a good man, a man like Mary’s father, is discussed in the same breath as words like pancreatic and hospice, feeding tube, cancer and dignity, there is obvious and ample cause for sorrow. This too, shall pass, but the glacial process involves much time and pain.
Words don’t often fail me, but they are failing me now.

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