Another drive to our 40 acres of Wyoming outback. I hadn't been up there in six months and was hoping to experience some snow before the onset of spring.
So while I was up there--
Wait, Steven, why are you writing this? Why are you writing a blog post for Western Lands Preservation (WLP)?
I don't really know. After that trip I thought I'd share the thoughts I had, since they pertain to WLP. A company's blog's gotta start somewhere, why not here?
So what was it like there? This is in the sticks: there's not another human around for several miles. Except for a highway off in the distance. But we were two roads and three hills removed;unplowed roads, too, that we had to hike up on foot. So we were alone.
It's fun to be alone in nature. I like it because it's a way to step outside of all the roles society puts on you, a reminder that you exist only for your own sake. There's this thing called I/R Theory, or Identity/Role Theory, and it says if you take away all your roles - being an employee, a parent, a citizen - then you are left with your identity: how you see yourself. And no matter what you think of your life and yourself, on a scale of 1 to 10, your identity is always at a 10. Anything less comes from what your roles have given you, like "I didn't reach my quota" or something, and you think less of yourself. But your core identity, that's always a 10 and always will be.
Being alone in nature is one of the few times you can experience that dissociation from your roles. Imagine yourself where I was, in a warm winter coat, ears snug under the flaps of a hat, standing there nestled in the sleepy hills under their blanket of snow. Pure white, with perhaps a small breeze that tickles the tip of your nose. No committments to think about, no nothing. It's that feeling of total fulfillment you get there. Completion. Identity-10.
Of course, you'll have to go back in the end, but you go back remembering that no matter what life throws your way, you are always an I-10.
Out on these 40 acres, I can experience that better than anywhere else. Going into national parks comes close, but not quite, since you never really feel like you've stepped away from everyone else. Their waterfalls and vistas may be more pleasing to the eye, but I think that has turned them into a place to take selfies, not a place to come to terms with yourself. You have to hike far away on unmarked trails to really feel like you're by yourself.
But that's the thing I'm trying to address: how national parks and their beautiful landscapes are no longer a place to experience the vastness of nature and yourself in it, but a place to bring packed lunches and pose in front of landmarks.
But y'know, we'll see how it goes.
Stay tuned, we're on our way to getting our first acre. :)
– Steven Whitney
|Trail Start||Let's Go On A Hike|
15 June 2022