My Wilderness: Katherine Koenig

By Katherine Koenig


Katherine Koenig's essay in the "Your Wilderness Series" shares lessons she has learned from nature and wilderness.

We Are All Made of Stardust and Water

As social animals we long to feel connected. By whatever means necessary. I used to often find myself lonely - yet surrounded by people! At times like those, I could not help but long to hear the pitter patter of rain falling on my green tent. It is as intoxicating as a couple glasses of oaky chardonnay.

Nature grounds me. She frees me. I cannot help but immerse myself; to remind myself what isolation truly is. Instead of isolating myself, however, I have found something incredibly unexpected - a feeling of harmony and inclusion! She reminds me everything is connected...harshly so at times.

We cannot exclude ourselves from nature, however much we would like to at times. She is not to conquer, nor to have dominion over. She is to endure, accept and embrace. If you seek courage, open your eyes and you will find something unexpected. If you seek patience, TRY and find a crossing point at a swollen river. There is a lesson in every action you take. She will teach you clamity. She will teach you fear.

She has taught me many lessons that will be with me until my dying day. Step outside what you know, and you will find you are much more capable, more relentless, more spirited than you ever imagined. I want for nothing else. She connects all. She excites me. She soothes me. She terrifies me. She humbles me. She is magnificent and has no idea the affect she has. She is neutral. Unbias. Elusive. Calm, yet chaotic. She is beautifully, unknowingly omnipotent. She does not smite those who do not hear her. She does not bless those who walk amongst her. She creates and destroys, yet has no reason.

We constantly speak of how we can be remembered...how to make a difference in the biggest way possible. Nature has taught me it's OK to leave no trace. I can quietly make a difference. Most of us will not be remembered...but we can make a meek, meaningful impact on this world for the short amount of time we have.

About "Your Wilderness Stories"

2014 was the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. As part of that celebration, Denali asked visitors to share their stories, to help in building a collection of stories about what wilderness means to you!