Merry Christmas from the Wild Lands of the USA
It is Christmas time here in Northern New Mexico. My bees are flying around, the trails are dusty, and the peaks up to 13,000 feet were free of snow until two days ago. I have never seen it like this before. Nonetheless, it is the time of year when we share gifts and quiet time with our family and friends.
As I grow older my desires at Christmas time have faded from thinking about what gifts I might receive to wishing the best for others that I share time on Earth with. This includes the wild lands and those that call it their home. The birds, trees, bears, foxes, and even the skunks. The best gift for me is the long-term safeguarding of the wilderness areas of North America for many generations after I pass.
The gifts of Christmas pasts are mostly forgotten now. What remains are fond memories, still vivid in my mind, of fishing trout streams as a kid in Northern California and Oregon, skiing the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada as a teenager, sleeping out under the stars as a kid. These gifts, the expansive and unique wild lands of the USA, are something we all share. Out in nature we are at peace with ourselves and the others we share it with. There is a glow that seems to bond us closer together out there. Nature continues to remind me what is important in life. It is a lesson that I have to keep experiencing. I am grateful it is there for me, and for all others.
Alpenglow on the Tetons
Alpenglow lights up the rugged Grand Tetons on a cold winter afternoon. Grand Tetons, Wyoming.
Whatever your age, previous experiences, nationality, religion, or education getting out in nature is therapeutic. I wish that more people can get out there and experience it — since I know those experiences are ones that pull us all closer together.
This past year I took a client out into the wilderness. They had never experienced the high mountains, seen the Milky Way glow from horizon to horizon, or watched elk herds run through meadows and fields of wildflowers. Just that one day of wilderness experience touched my client in deep way that will last forever. I can imagine the stories being told with a big smile on their face of what we saw together out in nature. No expectations, just letting go and taking a journey into the wilderness — it always rewards us.
“Frozen Creek at Sunset“
Out on the high plains where the Santa Fe Trail used to take adventurers centuries ago. This little creek is very close to Rayado, New Mexico where Kit Carson tried to settle down for a few years and farm. His wanderlust for the wild lands of North America won over in the long run and he returned to exploring the mountain west. He lived in Taos, to the west of this scene, over the Sangre de Cristo.
“Fox Tucked in for the Night“
A cross fox, a partially melanistic red fox (Vulpes vulpes) with a dark stripe down its back, and another across it shoulders that form the cross it is named after.
Merry Christmas and Peace to All!