Why we do what we do.
A reflection by 2013-14 recruiter Mindy Spyker
“There is love of wild Nature in everybody,” John Muir wrote in his journal, “an ancient mother-love ever showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties.”
I think I can respond in agreement for all of us here in the national office, and we are encouraged to do what we do because of the truth in Muir’s proclamation. There is a love of wild Nature in all of us, and it connects us to one another when we go out into the parks- visitors, NPS, ACMNP team members, fellow concessionaire employees- in a powerful way that is undeniable, however indefinable. It’s what allows us to walk up to strangers, comment on the might of the Sierra Nevadas and the strength of the Sequoias, and hike alongside each other in newfound friendship, with only a common pull towards the nature about us.
I’ll never forget an afternoon in Montana when my teammates and I ventured a few miles outside of Glacier to hike up into the surrounding mountains; we found ourselves at the base of a gentle waterfall just as the sun was beginning to set. Nature beckoned us further in and further up, the spray turning louder and wetter as we scrambled up the side of the falls and eventually found our place at the top. As the water rushed around us and fell below us, we discovered there what Muir suggested privately, some one hundred years before us: there is a love and a longing in all of us.
But Muir missed something.
It isn’t just wild nature that every human soul desires. (Though our longing for the purest, wildest nature of Eden- that first relationship, the shalom between God and man and nature- hints at the root of it all.) It is the Lord! Creator of heaven and earth, it is our God. It’s His beauty, His magnificence, His chaos beyond understanding and working perfection of living things we so desire. We too often attribute it to Nature. But God gave those attributes to nature! When we long for the hills and the forests, the radiance of the sunset and the flooding peace of a windy valley, we really long for Him.
So we sing, here now, and in the parks;
This is my Father’s world, and to my list-ning ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres…
This is my Father’s world, the battle is not done;
Jesus, who died, shall be satisfied,
and earth and heav’n be one.