Why I Love Wilderness

During our interns' crosscut saw training, the Forest Service offered a beautiful double-bit axe to the winner of a writing competition. There were many wonderfully written odes to wild places, but only one axe to dole out as a prize. Here is intern Andrew Bushnell's winning entry to the prompt 'Why I Love Wilderness:'

"The meaning of Wilderness is not meant to be put on paper. The touch of wind, the rush of water cannot be wrote between lines. What we write, what we describe of wilderness is a mere attempt, a miniscule effort to cage something meant to be experienced. Wilderness is a feeling. It’s a sensation, a sense of something basic, simple, and unkempt. In its solitude it is welcoming. It beckons to the restless, and in its confines the restless find calm. The solitude of wilderness is not lonely. Within its character we find company. In the pines, in the birdsong, and in the feel of dirt beneath the palms we find solace. In its unkempt and wild nature we find order. In wilderness we find ourselves. With this quality, wilderness is the giver of meaning . It’s the backdrop for self discovery and the conduit for introspection. With its basic and pure character, it is a yardstick to measure oneself. Against the backdrop of wilderness we can find our meaning. Why we do what we do, what we want to do, who we want to be. Within wilderness a clarity exists like no where else. Outside influence becomes inward reflection and inward reflection becomes meaning. In its purest form wilderness is a way to experience oneself."

Congratulations Andrew! Here's a photo of him with his new beauty, outside Fenn Ranger Station.

Axe courtesy of Doug Olive, USFS, Fenn Ranger Station, Moose Creek Ranger District, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, Selway Bitterroot Wilderness.

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