We are all looking to be a part of something. A desire for this has been evident throughout human history. It is apparent today in our obsessions with sports, religion, social media politics, etc. To be part of something with a clear purpose, where the person next to you has your back and is “all in.” For many that something is the natural world. A circle of people that ultimately are not guided by any one organization but through a feeling of responsibility for the earth. A sense that nature, truly, is not separable from our modern lives. While it is understood that living in modern society is virtually requisite, people like myself, balance our lives with immersion in the outdoors, from extended adventures to a simple walk in a beautiful park.
Places like the Boundary Waters exist for that healing to take place. It is an absolute joy to watch people at a Boundary Waters entry point who are either ending, our just starting their trip. The look of euphoria on their faces and the excitement in their actions is hard to describe. These people will be taking something back with them to their daily lives that will be of benefit to all they come in contact with. For them, the world and our place in it is back in perspective.
As a people, we all, directly or indirectly, benefit from having places like the Boundary Waters to heal our bodies and minds. In a time when the danger to our natural environment from self-interest and the pursuit of wealth seems to be only accelerating, to do nothing is not an option. Let us band together to protect this place that hundreds of thousands of people visit each year where families and friends reconnect to replenish the heart and soul. Our future and the future of the earth will be better for it.
Doug Coomer is a canoeist and freelance writer living in the St. Louis, Missouri, area who also happens to be a technology engineer.