Leave nothing but your wishes!

That’s what a Navajo man once told me.

He was referring to my love of being in the wilds, whether up north in the snow and ice or in slightly balmier altitudes in rainforests of the Pacific Northwest.

Why, I asked him? Why leave only wishes?

“Because”, he said, “the wilderness of the earth is where our greed has pushed the Great Spirit. Once, the Spirit was everywhere….in our homes, in our buffalo, in our hearts. But…when we learnt how to become civilised, we forced the Great Spirit out of our lives…..and so now, it has only one place left to go on earth….the wilderness. When you go there, walk gently, do not go there to destroy…..go there to bring back a little of the  Spirit with you…nothing else. Leave nothing, but your wishes”.

When I think of that, it brings tears to my eyes. What have we done indeed? We think we have become civilised, but look what is happening to our earth all around. And we still go on and on and on, never satisfied with what it has given us.

That is why, whenever I go on a  hike into the wilderness, I make sure I bring nothing back..apart from perhaps a bit of peace….a little of the Great Spirit.