Wilderness as challenge

Passing through the interior of Alaska by train from time to time we would see a house, more accurately described as a cabin, sitting in isolated splendor in the midst of nowhere. Many of these are only accessible by train, plane or all terrain vehicle. There are no roads, no electric service, no indoor plumbing, certainly no nearby food store not gas station. Near many of them was an outhouse. That seems like a challenging life in the wilderness. I wondered why people would want to live in that kind of isolation?

I know myself well enough to know it would be an extreme challenge for me to live like that. To have to eek out an existence in the wilderness would be most difficult. On one of our tours I spoke with an Alaskan who has such a home when he is not driving tourists around. He gave me a very different outlook from my own.

“Nature provides food (rabbits, moose, berries, things in my garden), the wood I use to heat my home, inspiration, a wonderful solitude in harmony with the earth. I get to see these wonderful sights every day – not just visit them occasionally – or having to take pictures so as to recall them. I get to live in God’s cathedral.”

He continued “I cannot imagine how you survive in cities, flooded with people, and things, endless activity and busyness, noise and bad behavior. I know some tourists feel sorry for us up here. But in truth we feel sorry for you.” He found his place of challenge where I am most comfortable.

Where is your wilderness? Where is your place of challenge?


About don

The Rev Don Hill is an Episcopal priest, rail fan and writer. He and his wife the Rev. Dr. Nancy Woodworth-Hill are currently Co-Pastors of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffersonville IN, in the Diocese of Indianapolis. They also work as parish consultants in Appreciative Inquiry, strategic planning and spirituality development for parishes and vestries.
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One Response to Wilderness as challenge

  1. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

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