By Rachel Crump
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, to say the least. The news drones on bleakly, scheduled work days in the field have been canceled, and the uncertainty of what’s to come next is disheartening and even a bit scary. To top all of that off, I’m living back home with my elderly parents, which has been both a joy and test of my patience. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful to have both of my parents close by to spend quality time with. I’m also thinking back very fondly on some solo backpacking trips . . . in the isolated Wilderness . . . with quiet campfires . . . and my single-person tent that fits only me, myself, no one else, and allows no room for someone to tell me what to do. Am I rambling? Oh yeah, I’m still in quarantine with my parents.
While my family is “social distancing” from the outside world, it’s been the opportune time to start on that dreaded spring cleaning. I’ve been helping my mother sort through items she has been collecting for some time now. Being somewhat of a clean freak myself, I’m unapologetically labeling most of it “junk”. Enter her three large baskets tucked under the cabinet in the living room filled with old outdoor magazines. How many magazines, you ask? A meager 388 magazines. A few months ago while visiting my parents, I cut some photos out of these magazines to create a Wilderness collage. I used pictures of rocks, birds, animals, and flowers and arranged them to create an image of a sunset over mountains. When I was cutting those photos out of the magazines one evening my mother stopped me suddenly, “Rachel, what are you doing? You can’t use those magazines! I’m going to read them”. To which I replied, “Mom, this magazine is from 2006. If you haven’t read it yet, its an historical article by now”.
Many of us are in the same situation right now. Stuck at home. Deprived of sunlight. Our eyes are bloodshot from staring at a computer or TV screen for over a week. We’re regretting taking for granted all of the days we enjoyed outdoors, in the woods, in the Wilderness, in the park, even on the sidewalk downtown. For the safety of ourselves, our families and others, many of us can’t venture outside during this time. Since we can’t hit the trail just yet to snap that perfect nature shot, let’s get creative! Dig out your old magazines from the closet—maybe your mother also has 400 she’s been saving for this very moment—and piece together your own depiction of the perfect wildland vista. Paintings or drawings are encouraged as well. Your friends at SAWS would love to see what Wilderness looks like to you!