My Wilderness: Rob Morganbesser

By Rob Morganbesser

Rob Morganbesser's essay in "Your Wilderness Stories" imagines what wilderness would say if it could speak in its own voice.

If the Wilderness Could Speak

It would say, O Human, remember that we beasts, the forests and the mountains, have been here before you. As you, we have the right to exist. Before you and your machines changed the world to suit you, we existed. Now we exist at your whim, we kneel before human cruelty so we ask for your protection.

We ask why we cannot exist in peace, side by side. We ask that humanity respect our existence and not to simply, thoughtlessly brush us aside. In the days of human youth, without us, the protection of our fur, the meat of our flesh, the caves in the mountains, you would not have survived to become what you are.

Remember that the fish that swim, the bird that flies, the beasts that walk, all contribute to each other’s survival. Some of your ancestors, the Inuit, the Tlingit to name but two, knew this. They lived with the wilderness, partnered with it, rather than callously abuse it. They respected the gifts of the wilderness, always remembering that without the bounty nature provides, none would be here today.

Humans speak, and part of speaking should be to be the voice of the wilderness, to teach their children of its importance both to the past and to the future. When one visits the wilderness, one should recall that this is the earth in its purest form. This is the way the world was before machines tore and bit at it, before pollution colored the sky, before even the feet of humans trampled the grass. The wilderness is a place that deserves protection, to remind all of the beauty of the world without the interference of technology.

Visit the wilderness. Breathe the untainted air. See the wildlife of all kinds as they are meant to live. Listen to the buzz of bees as they help plants flower, see the bears as they hunt for food and play, for even beasts need recreation. Watch the birds, both predator and prey as they cross the skies freely, flying from place to place.

Look as the fish leap from the waters to catch an unwary insect. Take in the scent and colors of the flowers in bloom. Touch the soil, feel the richness of it that provides sustenance for the plants that the moose, caribou and others eat. Rejoice spiritually as you share this beauty.

And remember, O human, that the wilderness needs your help to remain pristine for all. Think of how, centuries ago, when the people crossed the great Bering land bridge, now long gone, they must have felt upon entering this new and vibrant land. Imagine what it was like to be among those first people. People who learned to love and respect this new land.

We ask that you remember that we share this fragile world, to live in peace with us. Enjoy the beauty of the wilderness while respecting it. Do not leave your mark behind. Leave the wilderness unblemished so that future generations can enjoy it. The world is a finite place and we should all remember this. When you leave the wilderness, take your memories, but leave it memorable for others.

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!