It came to me while listening to Hank Penny’s song, “I Like the Wide Open Spaces.”
I never really thought about it while living in New Mexico or Guatemala. And I kind of took it for granted. But it has come into a fine relief here in Germany. Our world has a dearth of truly wide, open spaces.
From what I’ve seen in Europe so far from every direction, every angle there are signs of land pushed, twisted and shaped into service of people. Of course you can go for a hike or a walk around the forest and they are all well cared for and very nice and quaint. But right around that corner is a hunting blind or a paved trail.
I miss being able to go a few miles from my house and know that I could be mauled by a bear or horrifically slaughtered by a mountain lion. Or hiking 20 kilometers and not seeing another person or electrical wires.
I’ve had a hard time pinpointing exactly what this means for me, not being an especially outdoorsy type. I would ordinarily make one backpacking trip a year into real wild lands that had been left to their own devices. And then I would think of that state of being fondly the rest of the year from the safety of my home in downtown Santa Fe.