Call of the Wild: Alone with Nature
There’s nothing like taking time off to be alone with nature. Consider it an uncommon treat – to be still, to feel vulnerable and small in the presence of something far bigger, to let the beauty of a sunrise imprint in your memory like a song, hear the mountains call and be the only one there to answer. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwell deeply in the moment, and truly feel alive.
I was walking in the woods when I came across a mossy green clearing in which lay a large red branch of a Madrona tree. Stripped of leaves in the wind, it seemed to have the graceful structure of a gently reaching hand. At once, I felt to connected with earth, sky and water.
“From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the Lord’s name is to be praised”, so declares the Psalmist in Psalm `13:3. You don’t have to be believer to be moved by the poetry or this evening scene, taken in the vivid dusk in November in the Azores, a group of islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
A waterfall thunders over the edge at the point where the land meets the mythical Faroe Island lakes situated off the northern coast of the UK
Imagine stars like pinholes into what we know to be our universe. An orb in an orb if you will, floating inside a place of constant light and positive energy. Thoughts run wild in a place like this. Arche National Park, eastern Utah, US
Bathed in the amber glow of the setting sun, a massive slab of sandstone rock rises like a temple in the suitably named “Valley of the Gods”, in San Juan County in southeastern Utah.
“Yea, even though I walk through the valley of death, Thou art with me” (Psalms 23). All the ingredients are there to caption this picture “Stairway to Heaven”. Death Valley, California
Scotland is the kind of place where nature in all its shades and seasons is played out in mythical proportions and you feel you are in the land of Narnia, as the following images show.
Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain (1,345m) was once a massive active volcano which exploded and collapsed inwards on itself millions of years ago. The mountain’s name, translated from the ancient Gaelic language, means ‘mountain with its head in the clouds’.
Red Cuillin mountains, Isle of Sky, Scotland. Two Cuillin ranges dominate the landscape on this isle located off the northwest coast of Scotland. One of these, the Black Cuillin Ridge was formed 60 million years ago, remnants of an eroded magma chamber of a huge volcano. The younger Red Cuillin mountains are mainly made up of granite which was less resistant to the glaciers than the hard gabbro rock of the Black Cuillin.
A red deer on the slopes of the Red Cuillin mountains on the Isle of Skye.
Me resting besides the 2,000 year-old remains of a broch situated on a high mound that affords a commanding view of the surrounding countryside. Iron-age history adds to the mystique of Skye and brochs are among its most impressive prehistoric structures.
Scotland is the kind of place that makes it feel as if you are in Narnia.
A road winds seemingly endlessly under the brooding sky in Glencoe Pass, Scotland. Stunningly beautiful, Glencoe is one of the best known glens or valley in the Scottish highlands.
Just when its all brown and black, a rainbow breaks out to lend her jewel for an hour.
The edges where the land mass ends and life in another form begins. Coastline, west Scotland.
If I were a bird I would fly all day and let my little wings carry me far away. I will soar to places unknown and never have to worry, for these wings that take me far, will surely lead me home.
Adapted from Gareth Byrant, 2008
LET’S FLY ON…
Rising 604m above sea level, the top of this gigantic plateau in Norway called Preikestolen (“Pulpit Rock”) offers breathtaking views of the Lysefjord
The moment when the mountains call, and you are the only one there to answer. Mt. Choltse (6440m), The Himalayas, Nepal.
Solitude with nature is not a sorrowful feeling but one of wonder and intense joy. A hiker takes in summit views at sunset in New Zealand.
I am in the valley of solitude, where you can hear low voices wander in the high pass. Ladakh, northwest India.
The milky way illuminates the night sky at the Stok Kangri base camp, Ladakh, northwest India. At 6153 meters, Stok Kangri, is the highest mountain in the Stok Range of the Himalayas.
“Its the wind you can’t see that makes the leaves flutter”. Mountainers on the summit of Stok Kangri wake up to a clear day, the first light revealing a vast snowfield that stretches 1,000m to the glacier below.
A Lama erects a lungta, a Buddhist prayer flag, in the highland summer pastures in Huma, Nepal. Lungta, which means “windhorse” is said to broadcast the word of the Dharma (Buddhist law) to all who pass near. Huma is situated in the far northwest corner of Nepal, sandwiched between Tibet in the north and India in the south, thus giving it its nickname, “The Hidden Himalayas”.
Dwarfed by the towering Lekh Dharma mountain, Humla children toss drying turnips to the wind in an exuberant morning ballet on a flat rooftop. In a land of vertical mountains, these root-tops serve the dual function of workspace and playground.
Ruoergai Plateau, Tibetan Highlands. Rising at 3400-3900 meters and covering an area of one million hectares, the Ruoergai Plateau situated between the Tibetan highlands on the west and Gansu and Sichuan provinces in the east, is one of the most pristine highland prairies in China. This vast swathe of grassland and lakes is home a variety of rare animals, including the Black-neck Crane and the Tibetan wolf.
The Dukha of Mongolia are a rapidly-dwindling community of nomadic herders localized to the mountainous region of Khövsgöl, in the northern part of the country. This photo shows an elderly man standing with a cane and two wolves at the top of a cliff-face.
Revered in Mongolian culture, the Mongolian horse is a special breed: diminutive but sturdy and exceptionally tough. These pony-sized steeds can survive in temperatures that go to minus 40 Celsius in winter and to plus 30 in summer. They are renowned for their ability to go the distance, clocking up to 40 km a day.
Kronotsky, a remote area in the far east of Russia, is home to more than 800 brown bears, the largest protected population in Eurasia. This is an area so fragile with natural beauty that it has been virtually left untouched for millennia.
Hydrologist Valeri Ivanov embraces an Arctic bath on Russia’s Putorana Plateau, a primeval expanse of volcanic rock and pristine waters where man has barely made a ripple. The plateau was formed about 250 million years ago when a huge body of magma rose to the surface, causing the glaciers to expand the canyons, creating river gorges and lakes that gives this area its unique landscape. The lakes, some reaching 150 km in length and up to 400m deep are the largest in Siberia after Lake Baikal and Lake Teleskoye.
In the Brooks Range of northern Alaska, humans are dwarfed by the scale of the landscape. These mountains are entirely above the Arctic Circle.
Like a scene from a sci-fi movie, the brilliant green flares of the Aurora illuminates the sky in Norway’s Lofoten Islands, located in the far north of the arctic circle.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting, over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
From ‘Wild Geese’, by Mary Oliver (b. 1935)