All it took was a magical weekend, spent in the eastern slopes, among kindred spirits, swimming in her crystal clear waters, drinking in her sweet fresh air, absorbing her sacred energy to remember.
Remember the feeling that there’s more to protecting our sacred wilderness than the science that proves how important its ecology, its wildlife, its watersheds are to life. Science is beautiful and it lays out the facts crystal clear that water is life, and nature always does it best, without being interfered with.
But aside from science, I’m talking about a feeling. I’m talking about sitting at the top of a meadow full of wildflowers, feet wet from the dew of the cool eve past, watching the sunrise over the foothills, as it gently highlights all the beautiful features of the east facing slopes, a deer grazing on the sweet wild grass and the sound of the little mountain creek babbling below in the valley, the feeling of an overflowing heart as all of the most beautiful things on earth are surrounding me, as if mother nature is giving this priceless gift directly to me. This is medicine for the soul, whether you think you need it or not.
This land, when you put your hands on it, when you dip your toes in its water, when you breathe its air, it nurtures and heals all that ails you, it makes you feel whole and so alive, It makes you feel loved.
Wilderness is sacred, its crucial to our life in the prairies by way of its life giving watersheds, but its also crucial for our spirits, to go immerse and be free, to be healed. We can manufacture many things, almost anything the mind can create, but we cannot manufacture wilderness, we can’t replace a mountain top once its been removed, we can never put back a forest to its natural perfectly balanced state after its been clearcut and sprayed with glyphosphate, we can never magically make a river so clean after tailings have been flushed in to it that all beings can drink from its banks. Nature knows how to do things that humans don’t understand – it has a way of balancing itself in the most eloquent, perfect, beautiful way, if we allow it to. And in doing that, in allowing wilderness to stay wild and natural, it returns the favour, by balancing us.
We must change our mindset and realize just how important our eastern slopes wilderness is, to us, to our wildlife, to our children and generations of children after we must start to think of protecting our wilderness as if its our beautiful, perfect child who gives us so much love and affection, but asks next to nothing in return, protect it like its your personal savings account which will keep you alive, because it is, all of those things and more.
Travis Boschman lives in Red Deer.