There are places across our country where people have a chance to breathe, to open not just their minds, but their spirit, to a place of dirt and granite, boggy wetlands, tall grasses or cactus. These remain spaces, mixed with sun or storm, wind or snows, which are the life realm, we call land. For some it must be big and powerful, for others it can be an abandoned lot in the heart of the city. But it remains a place that defines wildness. For me, it is a space that is large, a place where I can be lost and perhaps never found. It should be free of cow, traps and man’s footprint. Here in this sanctuary of wild, one has time to explore, not just the land, but themselves. Here they confront not just animals larger or more soulful than man, but weather that can change in a moment. Where the wind can go from restless to fury and where rain or snow can soak the bones and chill the night air. Walking in such a space allows our feet or boots to connect to the soil. It is a rock outcropping that becomes our lunch spot, a mountain overview we call home for the evening. There is a power in such a space, a true energy of life, which remains profound. It comes from the awakening of our senses. We see, we smell, we hear more and our imagination is free to flourish, not because of who we are, or our intellect, but because we are immersed in the power, perhaps more the energy of land. The more time spent in this space, the more time removed from the convention of life, the more in tune we become in this quiet domain. We begin to understand the language of wildness. We see the patterns on the forest floor; listen to the voices of animals in their daily interactions. We begin to feel the direction of wind and the movement of the sun. The night sky is bold and vivid, which helps to navigate us and bring to our warm bag of sleep the music of light and movement. The boundless sky on a night void of moon, adds another dimension of space, a ceiling of wildness that refracts on the very land we are learning to comprehend. By walking, we allow the time to see and touch places of beauty. By walking we move slowly over large areas of land. This is not designed to be an exercise in endorphin explosion, or a foray of stunts, rather it is the opposite. It is like a fine book, something we continue to pursue with a pace of learning and excitement. We set goals in miles and face paths that are tough and gain in elevation or drop, we watch as the land evolves slowly, changing from forest to meadow, from tall grass to river. Sometimes the weather forces you to stay put and while frustrating, it is also a process of calming the mind and slowing the life rhythm, to connect more deeply to a valley, a mountain side or the thick bog of tundra. What accents land; is sky and water. In some places, the roar of the river and the life it generates provides gifts in a manner, largesse. In some places a trickle of water is an oasis. In the desert, the sun can be blinding, as it consumes the land in heat and detonated light, which crackles the desert floor and molds it into a lunar crust. In bayou country, the light filters through the forest and distills the water in chiaroscuro. It can be filled with shadow and slow movement. Like a fog, it can consume the mind and fill the trees with life integrated in water. Land remains real; one can feel this as our hands touch the very soil that is the foundation of this life outcropping. Despite that it creates in us a sense of imagination. It challenges our senses in its many forms, shapes, colors and expression. The seasons can transform our vision and accent its vital core. It remains a place to call home, a place of renewal or departure. In its wildest forms it remains a treasure, free of man it is an oasis. It quenches a vital thirst for space, for harmony, for connection. For a sense of life! Land is the spirit of the earth, as oceans are its soul. Land was meant to be wild and free, much as our oceans remain. Land is a place I call home. It is a place that will hold my spirit in death.