The worldwide Augustana College experience

Finding perspective in the wilderness

June 11

As one who has often felt this need, and who has found refreshment in wild places, I attest to the recreational value of wilderness.
– George D Aiken, U.S. Senator and Founder of Eastern Wilderness

On this trip, we are hiking in wild areas across Canada. For me, hiking in wild areas helps me keep a needed perspective. It sometimes involves the unexpected. A turn of the corner, and suddenly there’s a dramatic overlook of the Atlantic Ocean with the surf pounding on rugged sea stacks. Head down a boardwalk through a bog, pondering the wildflowers growing on a damp log, and suddenly there’s a moose browsing 20 feet ahead. Round the bend, there’s a garden of alpine flowers. Cross an ordinary gravel parking lot and there are dozens of swallowtail butterflies fluttering and landing close together, their fresh yellow and black wings like stained glass in motion.

I find it humbling, to be reminded that the world does not revolve around us. All these living things go on about their business in places where human beings may never even see them. God has created a vastly complicated and immensely beautiful world, of which I and my concerns are a tiny part.

Spending time in the wilderness never grows old for me, as I always feel the majesty of God’s creation. It reminds me of the context in which we live. I’m looking forward to hiking and skiing my next 2,500 miles in the wilderness.

(See also Jane Bahls’ Arctic Adventures)

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