The True Beauty of the Wild

"​Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread​​"​ ​​- ​Edward Abbey (1927-1989)

By: Will McKay

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All humans have their own ways to deal with things. There are people who watch television to relax, sing in the shower to think, and some that listen to death metal music to relieve stress (how that works still confuses me, but to each their own). These ways are not right nor are they wrong, they're simply the ways those specific people deal with things, and like opinions, they're unique to those individuals.

Personally for me, none of those things work. I don't really like death metal, my singing in the shower usually consists of bad alternative rock covers, and we don't have cable in my apartment so television is out of the question. And for years I struggled with not having a way to relieve my stress and truly be myself. 

For a time I thought photography was what really made my stress and headaches of the everyday world disappear. However I soon found that not to be entirely true. Instead I began to realize that the only times I felt completely at ease was when I was photographing things in the outdoors. Thus I came to the very non-scientific conclusion that the outdoors was something that helped my physical, mental, and spiritual state in more ways than I can express through words. And I don't feel alone in this, I actually feel as if many people can relate to that as well.

Can't beat stargazing around a fire

"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good breadEdward Abbey (1927-1989)

While the importance of the outdoors does rival my love for good bread, especially fresh sour dough, I believe that good ol' Ed truly was on to something. When you're sitting at home on your computer, phone, or maybe even a typewriter, if you're into that hipster thing, you can't help but feel a little disconnected. Sure in a sense we are more connected to people today than ever before via social media, however we are also less connected. Less connected in the sense that most people truly don't know what it's like to be away from the modern appliances, social media, and the ever growing amazon prime receipt that's hiding on your desk.

It's hard not to love this planet with morning views like these

The beauty of the wilderness is that it makes you realize that none of that stuff actually matters. The wild will make you discover who you truly are, in the most beautiful or screwed up ways possible. Being in nature provides a sense of clarity, love, and happiness that I haven't been able to find anywhere else.

To be outside, in nature, is to go back to our human roots. The roots that many people have forgotten in the past decades, the ones that I fear may soon be lost forever. And it truly saddens me when I meet a person who hasn't woken up on the ground of a forest covered in dew or at the base of a mountain in an ice covered tent and experienced that slight chill that occurs when you realize that you're nothing but small. When you grasp the concept that you're of minor importance compared to the ancient trees, the old mountains, or the deep rivers. It gives you a kind or perspective that can immediately kill the stress that was on your mind and let you live in that moment of pure bliss.

Fresh paddles can leave you with your mouth wide open in awe

To close your eyes, listening to the deep rumble of the distant storms brewing across the plains. To smell fresh glacial water rushing through the eroded canals of rivers and streams. To feel the new fallen snow on your face on an early December morning. To just take a moment, ;just be there, away from anything and everything, and realize that the wild can mean so much in the simplest of ways.

To say the least, that is why I truly love the outdoors and I will try and pass on my passion to the future generations to come.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.