Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wilderness Solitude

by Paul Hellweg

“Anxious haste and hasty fear help rob man of his most essential properties. One of these is
reflection ...”  - - Konrad Lorenz

Thirty-five years of solo backpacking
in the Golden Trout Wilderness,
camped today at Movie Stringer
well away from the nearest trail,
just lodgepole pine, fragrant sagebrush,
and the occasional bear, sometimes
alone, often as a pair.
Last night below freezing,
this morning chilly,
not knowing for what time
the mosquitoes have set their alarms,
wanting to heed nature’s call prior,
dropped trou, squatted, and
within a moment, 127 kamikazes
mistook my untanned derriere
for an American carrier,
followed shortly thereafter
by a group of scouts, lost,
wandering off-trail, looking for the way
to Monache Meadow.
Makes me wonder if a soul can find
neither privacy nor solitude
in 300,000 acres of wilderness,
how are we to heed Lorenz’s
call to self-reflection?
Silence terrifies, but
bear, mosquito, human,
apparently few creatures
can tolerate much time alone, and
not many are likely
to be aware, ever,
that silence can
and indeed does
calm our ghosts.

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