My wilderness is these woods, the forests of the Ozarks and the Ouachitas to the north and west.

These foothills in which I live and work, the parks, tree lined highways and woods through which I drive.

My wilderness is all around, surrounded as it is by suburban sprawl.

Lest you mistake me for a nature girl, I prefer my interactions with her in specific situations. (Temperate weather only please. Hold the bugs. And the snakes while you’re at it.)

My wilderness is verdant every spring and summer, morphing into a colorful palette in the autumn, before transitioning into winter landscape with bare trees standing sentry amongst the evergreens.

The view she offers me differs upon the season or simply the time of day.

My wilderness houses inhabitants which perform a symphony nightly, spring peepers and bullfrogs joining crickets, cicadas, and owls providing a soundtrack for the evening into the darkest night.

A few moments of listening transports me back to camping during my childhood, sitting around a fire, or falling asleep to her melodies.

My wilderness offers me assurance that despite the problems of this life and this world, she is there and in her I always find God.

-Karri Temple Brackett
May 4, 2023

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