May 7, 2017 Youth Impact

Wilderness-The Perfect Teacher

Language defines wilderness as:

“A name given to the most pristine wild lands left on the earth, uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable.”

Whereas all I discovered is that wilderness is a breathtaking mosaic of nature that is brutally honest and completely raw but above all A PERFECT TEACHER!

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A teacher cultivates dreams, inspires hope, encourages minds, broadens imagination, kindles passion and instills the love of learning in a child. Quite similarly, WILDERNESS nurtures your soul and touches your heart, teaching life-long lessons by letting you witness nature in the flesh, in its most epic form. As Wordsworth, the high priest of nature, said:

“One impulse from a vernal wood

May teach us more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.”

Just like a teacher who digs out the hidden potential of a child and shows them the right direction to bloom, WILDERNESS teaches you the art of self-discovery. Mighty mountains standing with full grandeur, tranquil waters of flowing streams, rustling leaves signifying re-birth, enchanting landscapes, splendid night-sky and purest shades of nature all seem to whisper the smallest of symbolic clues about life. The way wild-plants bear extreme weathers or the lonely eagle flies high above sky, struggling for survival, each one of us finds their own parallelism to the problems we face as individuals, ultimately leading to a journey of self-discovery.

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⦁ Flexibility:

You may have flaunted your flexibility up till now. But let me kindly disagree. Unless you grow through raw nature, far beyond the luxurious, high-tech world, striving for your very existence while facing ruthlessness of its wild side, you carry in yourself the chronic rigidity of civilized ideals in your muscles and your bones just as much as I do. WILDERNESS teaches you flexibility to endure all kinds of crucial circumstances within its restricted resources and successfully outlive all odds in ever-changing stages of life.

As we climb mountains, there will be times when we fall down. When there’s a stream to cross, and no bridge.  When there are boulders in front of us that seem insurmountable. And we might get hurt. We might have to turn around or look for another way. This is how WILDERNESS gives us the lesson of hope. Obstacles are a part of life and we’ll most certainly encounter them. We’ll stumble along the way in life. Our egos will be bruised. We might be broken financially or emotionally, but there always is a hope that there will be light at the end of tunnel!

⦁ Self-Reliability:
From strolling slopes to climbing mountains, from making your own bedding to securing a shelter and cooking your own food, WILDERNESS will teach you self-reliance. You’ll feel more independent, solving your own problems, and making your own decisions self-sufficiently.

⦁ Patience:

Wind, rain, crazy gradients; no matter what you battle with, this is nature’s way of teaching you patience. No matter how hard a mountain is to climb, there are so many paths to the top.  Some are harder than others.  And some seem all but impossible. But what goes up, must come down. As you battle gravity while climbing, remember that it will soon be on your side. With effort, your mountain peaks (goals) in life are reachable – all you need is patience.

⦁ Problem-Solving:
No matter how sure you are about things you planned for survival in wild, once you have the stick in your hands, a certain weight over your back, and wind determined to make you back-off, you realize that, “Nature does all the work”. That’s when you’ll need to quickly strip all your mental mess down to ditch the hitch. This is how WILDERNESS teaches you effective problem-solving.

⦁ Agility:
When you can’t sleep whole night because you haven’t accurately hooked up your camp and the snow is committed enough to give you frostbite, this is how, after experiencing WILDERNESS your own reactions gradually become faster and you become more exquisite in your own battles. WILDERNESS teaches you how to respond quickly to sudden ups and downs of life and take life-saving steps to secure your future. You see yourself needing lesser resources, fewer hours of work, and even way lesser clothes, outfits, and/or adornments.
⦁ Resilience:
WILDERNESS teaches you the resilience required to face the odds of life fearlessly. A mountain represents both a high point and a low point.  While climbing a mountain, there will be spots where you are going up, and then need to change direction and go down in order to continue to the peak. Life is just like this.  There will be ups and there will be downs.  The important thing to remember through it all is where we’re headed on our life journey and keep on with the perseverance with which we struggle for the peak we’re aiming for.

⦁ Social-Responsibility:
WILDERNESS – free of slightest of human impact is an example of how “raw” something can be unless it is impacted effectively. Thus, wilderness indirectly teaches us the dire need to impact others to refine their raw abilities and makes us realize our social responsibility to impact the rest of world.

⦁ Serenity:
WILDERNESS feels like home! It has a mystical pull that is nourishing and fortifying for the human spirit. Coming back to the city seems like an abrupt awakening from a faraway adventure dreamland. Nature begs us all to not give in to the pull of our fears, our sorrows and angers, all those inner mirrors that hold us against the loving embrace of gravity, destiny, and wilderness.

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods…
There is a rapture on the lovely shore….”


-Mahnoor Tariq