Written 5/3/17 as we prepared for retirement in 2018
Traveling gives me a chance for inspiration and contemplation! We all need time to reflect and I find that when we are home in the business of life, it is difficult to do. On a trip and especially to somewhere beautiful and natural you find yourself inspired and contemplating all the possibilities of the life around you.
John Muir who was born in 1838 writes about the joys to be found in quietly observing the world. All part of his desire, he said, to"preach nature like an apostle." The story of his life is inspiring to me because of the religious abuse in his young life. He never turned his back on God in spite of his tyrannical and religious fathers beatings while he forced him to memorize the entire Bible. He left the life of what he describes as mans institution of worship to worshiping God in the midst of nature itself in Yosemite Valley. He spent his life trying to protect the beauty of Yosemite which he considered his cathedral from becoming a carnival for people who wanted to commercialize the area. He became the voice in politics to protect Yosemite and other natural wonders of the United States by creating National Parks. He describes himself as an "unknown nobody" who had entered Yosemite and then been transformed by his "unconditional surrender to nature." He would need to convince many other Americans to surrender, as well. To see the necessity, as he said, "in all that is wild." What he means is that wildness is an essential part of ourselves that we lose in the everyday routines of life and rediscover when we wander in the wilderness.
The tendency these days to wander in wilderness is delightful to see. Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home. That wildness is a necessity, and that mountain parks and reservations are useful, not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers but as fountains of life. ~John Muir