“She is free in her wildness.
‘Time’ for her isn’t something to fight against.
Thus, she [only cared] about experiences…”*
The words wandering and aimlessly are so often paired that, in many minds, the act of wandering is considered to be synonymous with confusion, lethargy, distraction, melancholia or preoccupation. Wandering is largely thought to be neither favourable nor a valuable use of one’s time. The lost wander. The mindless wander. Not those with purpose, with ambition, with focus, with intelligence. Those folk never simply wander.
Personally, no matter the season nor the location, I love wandering – in woods, marshes, natural habitats, wetlands or along creek banks – I love it all! As I wrote last time, I’m constantly searching for (and finding) new places to explore, and the highly recommended Murray Marsh was just such a place.
Gosh, after reading the post about my Murray Marsh adventure, y’all positively lambasted me and I was shocked. And stunned. And confused. I’ve written, many times, about contentious issues with never such an angry and judgmental outpouring from you lot! I was, frankly, gobsmacked.
Two days and 62 e-mails later, I now know that I’m irresponsible, foolhardy, an idiot and I’ve been asked about twenty times, Why? and What were you thinking? Thank goodness for dear, sweet Annie, else I may have believed some of those comments and taken some of the suggestions (I’m looking at you Greg!!!) to heart.
Yes, it was a scary drive. Yes, had I known the state of the ‘road’ I may have reconsidered. Yes, there were risks but, oh, those rewards.…
- Absolute, pure silence; and
- The eroded, narrow, water-covered and rocky road required a very slow pace which allowed me to look around, absorb the atmosphere and pay close attention to the diverse marsh population; and
- Observe wildlife that has had very few human encounters and thus is relatively unafraid; and
- To listen, hear and identify the calls of so many birds – and to see them up close; and
- The divine peace that comes only with solitude; and
- The rush of adrenaline that came, knowing that no one else knew my precise location. Cam knew my destination, but honestly, he’d never have been able to find me; and
- The privilege of being able to observe and study such a grand and amazing wildlife habitat and the natural filtration system which continuously improves the water quality of one of southern Ontario’s most important rivers, The Trent; and
- Experiencing the vitality and vastness of such a critical yet fragile and vulnerable ecosystem is truly humbling and makes me aware of our acute and ongoing responsibility to the environment.
- Achieving a dram of humility by acknowledging and accepting my fear of death; and
- The euphoria of making my way out, unscathed, but forever changed.
Yes, I had moments of panic and anxiety and of course, driving Monaghan Road through the marsh was dangerous; there was always the risk of an accident which would have been complicated by such a secluded location and minimal access, but I managed all of the challenges and pitfalls.
The sweetest reward of all was experiencing the juxtaposition of beauty and danger.
I’m imploring you to remember that wandering is not the same as being lost. Wandering inspires creativity. Indeed, wandering is creativity. It should always be encouraged and celebrated.
Seven years ago an author named Roman Payne coined a new word, Wanderess (the title of one of his novels). It is a dreamy, romantic, artistic descriptor and perfectly depicts the woman I’d love to be, and how I’d love to be thought of, a Wanderess.
’Til next time, y’all…
*Roman Payne from his novel The Wanderess