Ranger Kathryn's Arches

March 26, 2011

Horseshoe Canyon: Getting into the natural rhythms

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 12:17 pm
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Know what I really want to find? Mountain lion tracks.

Tom Brown, Jr., (in Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Nature Observation and Tracking) describes our everyday frenzied/distracted lives as “a little like walking around wearing sunglasses; after a while the world looks a little duller and darker than it really is. Gradually we come to accept the dullness as normal until we take the glasses off and realize, sometimes with a shock of surprise, just how bright and beautiful the world really is.”

I’ve finished eight days at Horseshoe Canyon. I’m “taking off the sunglasses” and getting to know myself better: my body, my mind, my spirit, my will. It is a slow process of learning to pay attention to small things that, in civilization, I glossed over.

I’ve no watch out here. I go to sleep when I’m tired, wake up when I’m refreshed, begin my patrols after breakfast, and try to be out of the canyon by late afternoon. This kind of living without deadlines, without artificial constraints, has a wonderful effect on me. I’m sleeping better and longer. I’m eating foods that nourish me instead of fill me. I’m asking lots of good questions about my surroundings. My body is responding quickly to the intense exercise regimen and I already take fewer rests on the uphill hike out. It feels so, so good. The best part, however, may be the cobweb-clearing that is taking place in my mind.

“Mental purification occurs quite naturally during an extended stay in the wilderness. Like a fountain of clear water, nature keeps pouring into our muddied cup, finally washing away the bothersome elements until we see clearly enough to feel a connection with the environment.”  — Tom Brown, Jr.

Does time in nature help clarify your thoughts and desires? Describe its impact on you.

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