On my walk this week at the cabin, the wind was roaring, the kind that stops you in your tracks. Days like that I can either huddle in the cabin, listening to the wind whistling through the cracks in the cabin, the whole place heaving like it was on the high seas, or march into the maelstrom, straight away, and let myself be buffeted around. Yet it’s these days, where everything is moving and surging, that I feel most alive.
Much of the past week’s snow had melted, and the leftover piles under trees were being munched away at by the sun and wind. The only plant starting to green up here in this high mountain valley is the kinnikinnick, the mats of low-lying plants that spread out over the ground, although I can see buds on the aspens.
In this first week of spring, there was just the slight taste of moisture in the air. With all the snow melting, the creeks are running muddy brown. The day felt different than a winter day. It felt raw, everything exposed, waiting for the grasses to emerge, to cover the naked earth.
I’ve been thinking about how people view nature differently. Many are moved by its beauty: delicate flowers, streams that flow like silk, aspens that turn golden. Others are drawn to its possibilities for adventure: hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, rafting. For me, it’s that nature is different than us and exists outside the human realm; wilderness, especially, has its own rules, structure and rhythm.
A day like this one I can feel it strongly, a rawness that I can touch, almost rub up against. It’s a day on the verge of changing into something else. Any day now I’ll arrive at the cabin and find the first pasqueflowers emerging from the litter of last year’s leaves and pine needles. But for today, it’s all potential, an empty, messy landscape, so I can feel the wildness more intimately. It’s strong and heaving, like putting your ear to the earth and hearing it breathing, its breath powerful, whispering of other worlds.