|Thunder Mountain, Juneau, AK. Murphy 2010|
As an Alaskan resident, I am fortunate enough to have the Alaskan wilderness be a part of my urban daily life, since its right outside my back door. As often as time allows, any time of year, I will venture out for a walk, hike, snowshoe or cross country ski, or camping adventure. Allotting for these activities is how I connect to the amazing Alaskan wilderness. For me, interacting with the wilderness can often provide me with a sublime experience.
|Light rays in the forest. Murphy 2010.|
The wilderness has been a part of my life, growing up here in Alaska. My relationship with wilderness has evolved for me as I have aged. Being a carefree child, I’d play among the woods and on the beaches. As a teenager and young adult, beginning to exert my independence, I indulged myself in hiking and camping. I loved being in the outdoors, but as a youth, I hadn’t yet conceptualized why the activities which I chose to do were often outdoors. As a young adult I began to conceive nature’s role, physically and metaphysically. I notice as I get older, I’m more aware, and more cautious of the activities, locations, and situations that I put myself into on outings.
I observe the wilderness daily, as I am surrounded by mountains and forests. Due to work and school however, I am not able to directly interact with the wilderness on a daily basis. When I do go on an outing, it is often gratifying and nourishing to my mind and body. I frequent the woods around here, nature’s theater. I enjoy being the minority in the dense world of hemlock, spruce, alder, and cedar. With the different seasons, the changing colors and smells provoke my senses to tune in. It’s that connection to the natural world that is so energizing, an awakening. I don’t get out as much as I’d like to but I get out occasionally, and that is better than nothing.
|Alpine skiing. Murphy 2008.|
One way that I was able to make time for outings and reconnect with the wilderness was through a nature writing course. By learning to express and observe the natural world through words gave me new insight into the Alaskan wilderness. The course required me to go out into the field at least two times each week. I developed a new appreciation for the wilderness learning to slow down, and intently examine my surroundings, as one should do where ever they are. My relationship with the wilderness still continues to change. Though the readings, blogs, and discussion questions posed in our Literature of Alaska and the Yukon course, have given me materials and thought which have given me new insight into the concepts of wilderness.